The Child Care Bargaining Team went back to the table on September 6th in our first session with a mediator. We were able to come to agreement on a few important parts of the contract and will continue negotiations on October 3rd.
Here is the most recent update on where we are at in bargaining:
Wages: The Legislature and State have proposed protecting current wages despite constant pressure to slash our rates, given the current economic crisis. This is good news, however, we continue to advocate for an increased investment in the work we do – through a higher enhanced rate, reimbursements for safety equipment and educational materials, better access to paid trainings, and recognition of the challenges that rural area providers face (such as lower rates and higher transportation costs when attending the orientation or trainings).
Health Insurance: The State is offering to work together with our union to explore systems for providers to have access affordable health insurance options.
Payments and New Billing Attendance System: The State has backed off using the Relicard as a payment option for child care providers and has indicated that providers will still be able to be paid through a paper check or direct deposit.
We both agree that the Reliacard should be optional and that child care providers will be notified of any fees associated with the card prior to signing up.
We wants to make sure providers don’t end up with out of pocket expenses related to the new payment and billing system so we are asking for a reimbursement for some costs that might be passed on to providers.
Tax withholding: We have both agreed to form a workgroup to explore the possibility of having taxes withheld for providers that chose to do so.
Legislative Action – Our union and the State agreed to remove language from the contract that could force us back to the bargaining table if the legislature were to decrease funding. We now have stronger language that protects child care providers from having to reopen the contract and moves us toward aligning our contract language with other care provider contracts.
Orientations and Trainings: We are proposing that the state allow child care providers to complete their Food Handlers test during the Enhanced Rate Training. Doing so would not only save the state money, but would mean that more providers complete the Enhanced Rate Training requirements and therefore qualify to receive an increase in pay for doing so.
What happens next?
The next bargaining date is October 3rd.
Over 300 child care providers and parents have signed and sent their postcards in! Thank you for sending yours!
If you haven’t sent yours in yet, we will be mailing them out again soon. Please use the addressed envelope to send your postcard back when you get it.
Call 1-800-452-2146 and ask to speak to a child care organizer in your area to find out how you can get involved.
This Bargaining Update brought to you by your Child Care Bargaining Team:
Portia Moye, Portland
Molly Stafford, Roseburg
Wanda Winne, Portland
Larry Caird, Springfield
Kimberly Cole, Medford
Renee Cripe, Roseburg
Enrique Luna, Salem
Kassaundra Nichols, Baker City
Debra Olson, Salem
Jennifer Schmidt, Riddle
Marvel Smith, Portland
Rebekah Tobin-Whittaker, Chief Negotiator