We held our second bargaining session with the State of Oregon on March 11. The day before, close to 300 SEIU Care Providers Turn-Out to Lobby Days in Salem to show our support for a fair budget.
Quicker Payment, But At What Cost?
The State presented a new payment and billing system they intend to implement in July 2011. Key changes in the new billing system would include
- Weekly Payments to Child Care Providers
- Payment through Direct Deposit or the ‘ReliaCard’ (currently the State’s method of payment for child support and unemployment) in lieu of mailed paper checks.
- Replace current monthly billing system with daily billing. The parent will call in drop off and pick up times from the Provider’s phone or enter through DHS website from Provider’s computer.
- Potential for tracking weekend and evening hours worked.
We believe this new system could be beneficial in helping to more accurately track hours and provide quicker payment to Providers. However, we are very concerned about potential fees to the Provider for both the US Bank ‘Relia Card’ and fees or costs associated with reporting payment through cell phones and computers. Under no circumstances should Providers have to pay money to get paid! We believe any costs in this new system must be paid by the State, not Child Care Providers. Another concern is the amount of time this new billing system would cost both Parents and Providers.
A Little More Information About the US Bank ‘ReliaCard’….
Did you know that the State of Oregon, beyond bargaining a contract with child care providers, also bargains contracts with private companies? One example is US Bank, who has a contract to facilitate unemployment and child support payments on a debit card called the ReliaCard.
- In addition to other fees, the bank charges single parents and unemployed workers extra to use a US bank ATM more than twice a month, although unemployment benefits are deposited weekly (and, possibly, our future Child Care payments!)
- While US Bank gouges the unemployed and single parents receiving child support, it’s executives continue to get excessive income – $4.4 billion in bonuses last year and $9.4 million paid to CEO in 2007-2008, the year Wall Street’s recklessness and greed crashed our economy.
Is it fair that Child Care Providers, who make on average $2 an hour, might be forced to face fees and other charges from US Bank?
We need the State of Oregon to get their priorities straight. And asking Child Care Providers to potentially take a pay cut so that US Bank can get a pay raise is NOT A GOOD PRIORITY!
We need to get our economy back on track. And that is why Child Care Providers are doing all we can to do our part. We sent out bargaining surveys a few months ago and many Providers expressed interested in the option to have taxes taken out monthly. We are currently discussing this possibility with the State.
2011 Child Care Bargaining Priorities:
You filled out surveys and your priorities are front and center at the bargaining table!
Throughout upcoming months, we will be negotiating with the State for improvements to our wages, health insurance access, accessible training opportunities for rural areas and a simpler registration process, and investment in quality services so that we can help our kids with their educational and safety needs.
Let us know what you think!
Your Child Care Bargaining Team,
Portia Moye, Portland
Molly Stafford, Roseburg
Wanda Winne, Portland
Larry Caird, Springfield
Kimberly Cole, Medford
Renee Cripe, Roseburg
Natale Jackson, Ashland
Enrique Luna, Salem
Kassandra Nichols, Baker City
Jennifer Schmidt, Riddle
Marvel Smith, Portland
Rebekah Whittaker, Chief Negotiator
How can you help?
- Fill out an updated ‘story form’ to let Legislators and DHS know why the work you do is so important.This will be arriving in your mailbox in the next couple of weeks!
- Take our ReliaCard survey at http://faireconomyoregon.org/ so we can better understand the both the benefits and concerns associated with this method of payment.
- Sign up as a Phone Tree Captain to help spread the word!
There are many ways to get involved! Call 1-800-452-2146 and ask to speak to the Child Care Organizer for your county.
If you would like to be added to the list to receive important updates about 2011 bargaining, you can sign up here: http://seiu503.seiu.org/page/signup/2011bargaining