Posted on November 27, 2013 by SEIU 'Kids First' Massachusetts
Family child care providers celebrate their tentative contract agreement with Thomas Weber, Commissioner of the Department of Early Education & Care.
In a landmark agreement that will improve the lives of nearly 4,000 Bay State family child care providers, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509 and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reached a tentative three-year contract agreement Tuesday evening. The settlement provides significant gains for early childhood educators around compensation, training, and specialized care – while also improving the quality of and overall access to child care for working families.
The tentative settlement with the Department of Early Education & Care caps off a nine-year effort amongst early childhood educators and the families they serve, who joined together to gain a stronger voice in improving the early education and care system. The agreement will go into effect once it is ratified by a majority vote of participating providers in the coming weeks. As with other state contracts, legislative leaders and Governor Patrick will ultimately determine funding mechanisms to fulfill the family child care agreement.
“This contract represents a monumental victory for family child care providers in Massachusetts,” said Maritza Manrique, a bargaining committee member who operates a family child care in East Boston. “While this is only the first step, we’re incredibly proud of the significant strides we’ve made in raising wages and standards for early childhood educators across the commonwealth.”
The tentative agreement includes hard-fought gains on:
Rate Increase: Family child care providers have won a 10% rate increase over the three-year span of the contract – 4% this year and 3% each in 2014 and 2015. This marks the first overall rate increase for early childhood educators in several years, despite double-digit spikes in operating costs.
Improved Quality of Care: Early childhood educators now have expanded access to training and professional development opportunities, helping to improve the overall quality of care delivered to pre-K children in Massachusetts.
Parents’ Right to Choose: Contrary to prior practice, decisions on which child care provider to use will now rest solely with parents.
Serving Children with Special Needs: In response to providers’ reports, the Department of Early Education & Care will conduct a joint study to assess and address the growing need for child care services for children with special needs.
Expanded Hours: In the hope of addressing parents’ work schedule realities, providers will join together with the Department of Early Education & Care to study the demand for care during ‘non-standard hours’ – helping parents to secure child care before 7am or after 5pm, if needed.
A Voice for Providers: The contract establishes formal meetings between family child care providers and the Department of Early Education & Care to address issues in early childhood education. Providers will also have a seat at the table in all future policy changes.
In addition to significant gains in the landmark contract agreement, early educators have prioritized increased access to affordable child care for working families throughout the commonwealth. These efforts have resulted in more than $26 million in new funding dedicated to reducing the child care waiting list in Massachusetts – ensuring that 3,200 families now have access to affordable care. The investments demonstrate the tangible results providers and parents have been able to achieve with their newly-won voice on Beacon Hill.
“With this contract, we’ve won a real voice for family child care providers,” said Willie-Mae Palmer, a Springfield-based early childhood educator and organizer. “From new training and professional development opportunities to formal representation in decisions regarding early education, we’re now in a position to really improve the quality and accessibility of child care for thousands of families.”
“With this agreement, the Commonwealth is formally recognizing the valuable role family child care providers play in educating our future generations,” said SEIU Local 509 Susan Tousignant. “We are incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together to make child care more affordable and accessible in Massachusetts – and we’re excited to officially welcome these early childhood educators to the Union for Human Service Workers and Educators, SEIU Local 509.”
Posted on July 27, 2013 by 'Kids First!' SEIU Local 509
Throughout the summer months, concerned parents and child care providers generated hundreds of calls and emails to state legislators, urging them to protect funding for early education and care. Their work had a huge impact, and the legislature ultimately passed a budget that included more than $26.5 million in new funding for early education and care.
This significant investment was a major victory, but the KidsFirst Massachusetts team wasn’t willing to rest on its laurels. With the budget largely settled, parents and providers moved to the next — and perhaps even more important — step of calling for progress in contract negotiations. On July 10, a delegation of more than 75 stakeholders brought their message directly to Secretary of Education Matt Malone, calling for a contract that improves compensation and working conditions for providers, as well as increased access to affordable childcare for working families.
More than a dozen personal stories from impacted constituents were presented at the meeting — and Malone noted not only that he heard the delegation’s message loud and clear, but that he would personally bring the demands back to the Department’s negotiators and the governor. One thing’s for certain: the action underscored the power of parents and providers in the fight for quality, affordable child care.
Posted on July 5, 2013 by 'Kids First!' SEIU Local 509
Over the last few weeks, concerned parents and child care providers placed hundreds of calls and emails to our legislators, urging them to protect funding for early education and care.
Our work has made a huge impact, and the legislature ultimately passed a budget that included more than $26.5 million in new funding for early education and care! The investments include $15 million to help cut the child care waiting list — giving 2,000 more kids under five access to quality, affordable care.
This is an important first step, but our work isn’t finished. Our next step is to negotiate a contract that improves compensation and working conditions for providers and increases access to affordable childcare for working families.
Thanks to the hard work of family child care providers across the state, the Commonwealth’s Department of Labor Relations has certified their union with SEIU Local 509. We’re overjoyed to welcome over 3,000 providers into our union!
Dozens of child care providers in Massachusetts celebrated a victory seven years in the making Friday when Gov. Deval Patrick formally signed legislation allowing them to collectively bargain. They were joined at the Massachusetts State House by President Mary Kay Henry, Local 509 President Susan Tousignant and state administrators.
“This is the moment that all providers of family child care around the state have been waiting for,” said child care provider Elizabeth Morales. “This law gives us the voice and support that we all need to keep on fighting for what we believe is just and to continue improving the quality of early education and care.
More than 4,600 family child care providers in Massachusetts now have the right to collectively bargain with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In the upcoming weeks, it is anticipated that a strong majority of family child care providers will file with the Massachusetts Department of Labor to become members of SEIU Local 509.
We’re excited to announce that the bill that will give family child care providers a strong voice in early childhood education has passed through the House and the Senate. The bill has now been sent to Governor Patrick’s desk, and he will sign the bill shortly.
For the last eight years, family child care providers in Massachusetts have been working to pass the bill, H.3986 – An act relative to early education and care by family child care providers, that will grant them the right to organize and collectively bargain with the state. Now it’s time for providers to come together and make the changes we want to see in our early childhood education system.
“I’m so happy that after eight years of hard work that this bill has actually passed,” said Michelle Rubin, a family child care provider from Greenfield. “Giving providers a voice is a great step forward for our kids, and now we’re ready to work together to put the needs of children first in our early childhood education.”
The first step in the process is for providers to sign union cards showing the state that they’re committed to collectively bargaining with the state. Once a majority of providers have signed cards, we will present them to the state’s labor board, and then we can begin the process of negotiating our contract.
As part of the Department of Early Education and Care’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant, WGBH TV is working with child care providers around the state to develop a series of modules for family child care providers to use in developing their curriculums and teaching programs. Called the “Digital Hub,” the program will consist of lesson plans, interactive games, and instructional videos for providers to use.
In the video segments, WGBH wants to portray real family child care providers teaching children, and we’re looking for providers who want to be model teachers int hese videos. This is a great opportunity for providers to share their experience and work with each other to improve all Family Child Care programs state-wide.
On March 22nd, a number of Family Child Care providers from around the state took to the State House to talk to legislators about the importance of our bill. Lissette Lapaix, a provider from Jamaica Plain, and Barbara Martin, a provider from Mattapan, wrote about their experiences at the State House:
Lissette Lapaix (right) and other providers at the State House
Hi, my name is Lissette Lapaix. I have been a provider in Jamaica Plain for 16 years. On March 22nd I had the opportunity to visit the State House with three of my Child Care children and a group of other providers. We visited Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and our state representative Elizabeth Malia. The providers and children in my group wanted to remind them that our bill, that will allow us to form a Family Child Care Union, came out of the committee of Children and Families and is now in the House of Ways and Means, and to ask for their support on this bill.
My children were very impressed with the grandiose building the State House is. Theo Kushmerek, 4 years of age, was especially impressed when he saw Senator Chang-Diaz dressed in yellow outfit; it is his favorite color. When she approached us, we had an animated conversation with us and then sat on the floor to pose for pictures with us. All of us enjoyed the experience. I was so happy that Senator Chang-Diaz was so approachable and made our visit that much more memorable. Sibu, Senator Chang-Diaz’s aide, was kind enough to take pictures for their Facebook page, which I was able to obtain and forward to all my Child Care parents through e-mail.
I am not sure if politics is supposed to be this fun, but our visit to the State House was awesome.
I am a Family Provider from Mattapan, my name is Barbara Martin, and I was part of lobby day on march 22nd, where Family Providers came together to speak out in support of forming our Union. To me, it was a wonderful experience where were able to send a message to our representatives of what our profession needs; to have a voice in early education. I also had the opportunity to speak with representative George Ross, and he was very supportive. He showed a special interest and listen to us. He was very positive in the fact that he understands what people need to better themselves. He worked in many non-profits organizations in the past and I feel this gives him a great perspective in supporting the needs of our community. It was refreshing and hopeful to have spoken to a representative. This meant a lot to me. Now that our bill came out of the committee of children and families, it showed the Family Providers can get this done by coming together. We have worked for a long time, we will keep on fighting, and we will reach more Providers to make our cause stronger by working as a United front.
Learning the Pass the Bill song.
Overall it was a great experience to meet other Family Providers that feel the same as me in support of our Union. We spoke out as a family, we learned along with the children, and more importantly we came closer as a group. My husband of 35 years wrote a beautiful tune that we taught the other Family Providers and children to get our message across at the state house, and we all enjoyed it:
Pass the bill, the child care bill,
Pass the bill, beacon hill.
House and Senate, don’t delay,
Pass the bill, right away!
Family Childcare Providers that have been working with SEIU Local 509 are now one big step closer to having their union recognized by the state.
Last week, the bill that would grant them this recognition (Senate Bill 28) was reported out of committee and is now on to the State House of Representatives. With a final push from Local 509 members, we can make sure that these more than 3,000 providers have the right to form their union and join us in Local 509.
Posted on February 19, 2012 by Celina Reyes, Family Childcare Provider (Lawrence)
Isabel Frias and Celina Reyes with Elizabeth Warren
I had the opportunity to attend the SEIU Senate Forum and was invited by organizers from SEIU, of which I belong. We are working together to reach our dreams as educators of family child care.
Joseph Kennedy: He is a candidate for Congress. Following the legacy of his family in MA but he is still very conscious of the hard work that has to be done and he knows that he will need more than just his last name to win!
At this forum, I was able to realize that Joseph Kennedy is a young man who is capable of doing the work, is very mature, knows how to reach his community, and recognizes the importance of the Hispanic vote. For me, it was very surprising that his first words to the group were in Spanish! I feel very proud that the politicians of the future are taking the time to learn my language. I wish him the best of luck in his candidacy.
Elizabeth Warren: Harvard Law Professor. Well prepared person who has the tools to keep molding the future of education for our young children. She seems very accessible to her community and I even had the opportunity to take a picture with her! I wish her good luck in her candidacy.
Marisa DeFranco: She is an expert in immigration law and has offered her services free of charge to her community. In this matter, she has understood the feeling of our youth that are waiting for immigration reform so that they can reach their dreams of going to college. Much luck to her.