On June 15 and 16, dozens of family child care providers, child care center directors, teachers, and early childhood educators gathered in Chicago to discuss the future of our profession.
Over the course of two days, people discussed a range of topics from how to be better leaders, how to move the child care profession forward, how to collaborate on our common goals, and how to best address the challenges we all face.
In attendance were early childhood education professionals from California, Illinois, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Washington, and Connecticut. SEIU 521 providers got the opportunity to meet other providers, listen to what others are doing around the county, share stories and experiences and to be stronger and learn from each other
By bringing together child care providers from across the United States, we were able to engage in discussions around how to create a 21stcentury union for early educators and child care providers, including creative ways to build coalitions.
Family Child Care Providers from SEIU 521 were able to share our recent experience with Measure A in Alameda County. Measure A was supported by a broad coalition of parents, early child care and K-12 educators, elected leaders, medical professionals, and many more.
Even though Measure A fell just shy of the 66.7% needed to pass (it received 66.21% of the vote), it was a valuable experience in developing leadership and successfully building support for quality child care in our communities.
Although Family Child Care Providers in California do not have a right to bargain a union contract under state law, providers in other parts of the county have already won this right.
“It was really informative hearing from other providers who have won collective bargaining rights in their states. We exchanged information so we could keep in touch and ask questions,” said Anna Rodriguez, a Family Child Care Providers from Watsonville and an SEIU 521 member. “My favorite part of the weekend was when we split into groups to practice and role play conversations to educate others about the importance of quality, accessible child care. Everyone was so passionate and invested in telling our stories and making an impact when we talk to others. It’s great to know there are so many of us around the country working towards a common goal.”