Childcare Council members have been busy fighting for higher wages and better benefits - they’ve rallied, made calls to legislators, showed up at the Capitol, spoke with the press, and demanded attention to the childcare crisis. And after several months of work, they are able to celebrate with raises and bonuses.
These wins were only made possible by members tirelessly fighting collectively - and it was not an easy fight. Just as most CSEA members faced, childcare providers fought against the spending cap restraints which threatened to diminish any significant progress on wages and benefits. But by steadily and strategically raising the pressure on the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) and ultimately the Lamont Administration, CSEA childcare providers won a contract with double digit raise increases, bonuses, hundreds of thousands of additional professional development funding, special needs and NAFCC differentials, support for licensing, as well as guaranteed funding for new resource and referral programs.
Without members being able to join together collectively, these gains would be unimaginable. But being part of a union means having a voice. A voice in union meetings, a voice at the workplace, a voice up at the State Capitol - a strong collective voice fighting for fair contracts, workers rights and the protection of the working class.
Dues provide the resources to strengthen contract campaigns like these so that we can stand up for good jobs and benefits, decent working conditions and a better future for our families. That's why union workers earn around 10.2 percent more in hourly wages than their non-union counterparts with similar levels of education and training.
The childcare crisis is once again hitting the front pages with states facing a drastic reduction in federal childcare funding starting September 30th as the $24 billion Child Care Stabilization Program grant is set to expire. The funding cutoff could result in the loss of 70,000 programs and more than 3 million child care spots nationwide - delivering a near fatal blow to the already fragile childcare infrastructure.
To make matters worse, Care4Kids providers are particularly concerned about the $15 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) that is set to expire in September 2024 since about 85% of Connecticut’s Care4Kids program is funded by this block grant.
So while childcare providers take a moment to celebrate these monumental gains, it’s critical that we look ahead and prepare for the fights coming up. We must stand together as proud union members and raise our collective voices to demand better - better wages, better benefits and a better future for Connecticut’s children.