After 16 years of rallies, house meetings, legislative lobby days, marches, speak outs, testimonies — and passing several versions of our bill — child care providers have won the right to collectively bargain! AB 378 empowers providers to come together with leaders in the state of California and improve our rates, training opportunities, rules, regulations and more. Governor Newsom signed the bill into law on September 30 in Sacramento. Child care providers, SEIU leaders, and AFSCME-UDW leaders, and Early Care and Education allies joined us on Capitol Hill to mark this momentous occasion.
“With the passage of this legislation, the child care workforce is closer to having the opportunity to sit down with the state and improve the child care system so it becomes the best in the nation. We will work to ensure every child–regardless of his or her background or neighborhood–has the chance to succeed. Child care providers are ready to lead for change,” said Tonia McMillian, Provider from Bellflower.
So, what comes next? AB 378 means our union, Child Care Providers United – a statewide partnership between three powerful unions SEIU Local 99, SEIU Local 521, and the United Domestic Workers Alliance – can bargain with the state of California over our rates and benefits, expanding access for families, payment procedures, licensing regulations, training, workforce development, occupational health and safety, and the retention of providers. But, first we will need to have a union election to demonstrate the majority of providers want a voice at the decision making table. AB 378 does not change the employment status of providers from independent contractors, nor does it eliminate the Resource and Referral Agencies. However, AB 378 does equip providers to organize and challenge agencies that are not living up to their responsibilities while receiving public funds.
With the passage of AB 378, 40,000 child care professionals will join together and have the right to negotiate with the state of California for the first time ever. In other states, like Washington and Illinois, providers already have the right to collectively bargain and have been able to mobilize early educators to increase child care slots for working families. This has expanded access to essential early education for working families. It’s also helped stabilize their state’s child care system because when reimbursement rates and professional development opportunities increase qualified, passionate providers are retained.
“Governor Newsom’s signature for AB 378 recognizes the essential role providers play in helping children to grow and learn. 40,000 child care providers can now use their expertise and experience in a formal seat with the state, to advocate for our children, support our families, and strengthen our communities. They’ll do this the very same way they have for over 15 years – educating policymakers to take action until every child in our state gets the strong start they deserve to achieve their full potential,” said Kim Kruckel, Executive Director at the Child Care Law Center.
As providers we know this is only the first step to improve child care for all. We need to bring more providers into our union so when we sit down with the state we show we are united and powerful. With the right to collectively bargain secured, providers statewide must overwhelmingly participate in our election. The election will be conducted via mail and sent to all providers in the state who care for children who receive a subsidy for care from the state. To ensure CCPU is authorized during our election we must have more providers sign-up to become election captains, or get-out-the-vot. Captains are responsible for moving 25 voters/providers in their network to “VOTE YES”. To sign-up to become a captain contact Melissa Noriega at (213) 215-7947.
Together, we can win child care for all! Read more about providers’ campaign to win quality, affordable child care for all.