Why are providers joining together in SEIU 1199 New England?
Rhode Island Family Child Care Providers who participate in the child care assistance program (CCAP) are coming together to form our union with SEIU 1199 New England. Together we are a strong voice for quality child care, for children, and for their parents. Just like providers in Massachusetts and Connecticut, who won a voice with their states in 2012, we will need legislation to ensure we have a seat at the table to directly discuss important issues with our state government and improve our child care program.
Will we become state employees?
No, we will continue to be independent business people and control our own business and day-to-day decisions, and parents will still decide where to send their children. But our goal is to reach a contract with the state over training & professional development, improving the recruitment and retention of qualified CCAP providers, and other matters related to our participation in the child care assistance program.
How will our union work?
We are reaching out to all providers so their issues and opinions can be addressed when we officially meet with the state. Union membership is completely voluntary–but by uniting many, many family child care providers we will have the strongest voice with the state. We will elect our bargaining committee, ensuring representation of providers from across the state of Rhode Island, and meet with the state to reach agreement based on providers’ priorities.
Will we pay dues? How much will they be?
Providers will decide together how much our dues will be. We will only pay dues after we vote to ratify a contract that moves us forward and that we feel is worth paying dues for.
How have providers worked to improve child care quality in other states?
SEIU providers in Massachusetts won their bargaining rights just a few months ago, but already they are working with the state to make sure family child care providers can participate in the state’s quality rating and improvement system—expanding access to training and making sure it’s offered at times and places where home providers are able to attend. Providers in Maryland, Illinois, Washington and Oregon are working closely with their states’ quality and training programs.
If we win improvements, will fewer children be served by the Child Care Assistance Program?
No. Across the United States, SEIU providers have been a strong voice for children and their parents. Since organizing their unions, providers have worked with legislators and state officials to expand access for thousands of children and families. In Oregon, providers helped thousands more families afford quality care. Providers in Washington have worked hard to keep parent co-payments low, even in bad budget years. In Maryland, providers worked together to achieve an 80% reduction in the state’s waiting list for child care assistance. And five months after granting providers’ rights in Massachusetts, Governor Patrick proposed eliminating the state’s waiting list for child care assistance to ensure universal early learning opportunities for all children.
What improvements have providers in other states been able to win by joining SEIU?
By joining together, even in tough state budget years, providers have won improvements like dedicated hotlines that get parent eligibility and payment problems solved quickly and efficiently. SEIU providers in Illinois and Washington have won affordable health care to ensure consistent care for children and reliable services for working parents. Providers in other states have also won workforce development improvements, including higher rates if they meet quality standards and get extra training.