Family child care providers, other SEIU members, parents, and their children spent the day in Sacramento to talk to legislators about the recently unveiled Assembly Bill 378, or the Building a Better Early Care and Education System Act. AB 378, authored by AssemblyMember Monique Limón, will allow family child care providers to have a strong voice to improve early education by granting them the same rights every work across the country has -- the right to collectively bargain and have a union.
Hundreds of family child care providers from across California visited Sacramento to speak to legislators about AB378, a bill that would allow dedicated early educators the right to unionize and negotiate with the state. Eleven other states already have granted child care providers the right to collectively bargain and make improvements to their child care system.
The impact of Community Child Care Council’s (4Cs) misuse of millions of public funds threatened to disrupt child care for dozens of families, but union providers knew how to fight back.
From October 2015 to April 2016, I provided care for two children through the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). For over 7 months, I provided care while dealing with continuous payment issues. My payments were late or sometimes I didn’t get paid at all for weeks at a time. I would follow up with the children’s case worker and the payment department but nothing was resolved. Only through our union did I finally find a resolution!
“He estado aquí desde que se construyó la escuela,” dijo Tere Ramos. “No se me hace justo que después de tantos años, ganemos tan poco.”
Tere Ramos es un miembro de SEIU Local 99 en The Accelerated School (TAS), un escuela charter en el Sur de Los Angeles. Por 15 años, Tere ha cuidado de los estudiantes como trabajadora de servicios de alimentación en TAS. Pero, los salarios de pobreza en TAS dificulta que Tere obtenga la atención médica que necesita. Los miembros de TAS han estado en negociaciones por más de un año sin progreso. Como líder de su comité de negociación Tere esta compartiendo su historia para asegurar que TAS ofrezca escuelas de calidad y mejores vida para su comunidad.
“I understand why people leave,” said Norma Acosta. This Is Why We’re Fighting for Quality Schools at TAS
Norma Acosta is a member of SEIU Local 99 at The Accelerated School (TAS), a charter school in South Los Angeles. For 6 years, Norma has served and cared for students as a food service worker at TAS' elementary school ACES. But, poverty wages at TAS make it difficult to make ends meet. TAS members have been in contract negotiations for nearly one year with no progress. As a leader on her bargaining committee, Norma is sharing her story to ensure TAS offers quality schools and better lives for the community. "It’s not right that we work full-time and have dedicated years of our lives to our jobs and we still don’t earn enough to live. TAS must set an example for the community," said Norma.
Maria Macedo is a parent and member of SEIU Local 99 at The Accelerated School (TAS), a charter school in South Los Angeles. For 15 years, Maria has been a dedicated education worker caring for students as a custodian at TAS. But, poverty wages at TAS make it difficult to make ends meet. TAS members have been in contract negotiations with TAS for nearly one year with no progress. As a leader on her bargaining committee, Maria is sharing her story to ensure TAS offers quality schools and better lives for the community. "The most gratifying part of my job is being able to help the students and the teachers. But, it is difficult to continue with so much work and such little pay," said Maria.
From July 27th to 31st, two of our newly-elected Executive Board Members—Agnes Braga, a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant at LAUSD and Toi Jackson, a Special Education Assistant at LAUSD—volunteered to join a boots-on-the-ground fight in the deep-red state of Missouri to beat back Proposition A. The ballot measure—had it passed—would have made Missouri a right-to-work state. But it didn’t pass. In fact, it was crushed on Tuesday (67.3 percent of voters in opposition versus 32.7 in support) due in large part to the state-wide effort Toi and Agnes were part of to educate voters on right-to-work and its negative impact on worker rights, jobs and the economy. Read our interview with them about their experience out.
Maria Cerda is an LA Unified parent and SEIU Local 99 members who advocates not only for her children’s schools, but also for the school where she works. "Many parents like me who work for the district have a salary that is not enough to cover basic expenses such as rent, food, transportation. Because my kids don’t qualify for the school bus, I have to drive them to school every day, and I barely can afford gas." Cerda celebrated outside LA Unified headquarters in June when the school board approved a salary increase with their new contract, just weeks after cafeteria workers, school bus drivers, and other classified employees were poised to strike.
When Jan Williams first started driving school buses back in 1998, she worked for a non-unionized contractor earning a dismal $7 an hour. That all changed when she moved on to work as a driver for Los Angeles Unified School District. There, she earned more than twice that. The difference? She had a union behind her job at LAUSD. This is her story.