Child care providers , including dozens of members of SEIU Local 99, were joined by mothers, grandmothers, and community partners as they rallied in Sacramento and spoke directly with legislators on May 1st – May Day – for the right to negotiate with the state and to use their voice to make changes to California’s early childhood education system.

May Day is celebrated all over the world as International Workers Day, uplifting the contributions of workers and is an opportunity to highlight inequities working families face as wealth and income inequality is at an all-time high.

“I’ve been taking care of the little ones for over 19 years and I am so proud to be here today,” SEIU Local 99 Member and Provider Noreen Jackson told the crowd. “It inspires me to see you all here today because we know that when we join together with our union, we can change things for the babies we care for, for the mamas we support, and for ourselves!”

Child care providers are rallying to change the inequality facing children and families by pushing for passage of six key bills before the California legislature:

AB 378 (Limón) – The Building a Better Early Care and Education System Act that will empower early childhood educators with the right to negotiate with the state and provide educators with a voice to improve the quality and accessibility of care. California would join 11 other states that provide early childhood educators with collective bargaining rights.

SB 234 (Skinner) – The Keeping Kids Close to Home Act would allow family child care homes to avoid costly and burdensome zoning and permitting requirements in order to help serve more kids and families.

SB 321 (Mitchell) – The Strong Start for CalWORKs Families Act will streamline Stage 1 child care eligibility rules so that all CalWORKs families are afforded the same benefits of stable, reliable, and consistent child care necessary to improve their family’s success and end the cycle of poverty.

SB 174 (Leyva) Reimbursement Rates – would require the State Department of Education to create a plan for a single regionalized state reimbursement rate and ensure that the plan’s methodology includes certain things, including that the state’s diverse early childhood education teachers and providers be competitively compensated.

AB 194 (Gomez-Reyes) Child Care Access – Requires $1 billion, upon appropriation in the annual Budget Act or other statute, to be made available to immediately improve access to alternative payment programs and general child care and development programs, as specified, for the state’s eligible children and families in need.

AB 324 (Aguiar- Curry) Professional Support Stipends – Expands access to stipends designed to facilitate the professional development and retention of providers of high-quality subsidized child care.