SEIU and AFSCME child care providers stand up for child care funding

A group of child care providers at the capitol with the children they care for, wearing t-shirts that say "SEIU and AFSCME, Our Colors Run Together"SEIU and AFSCME child care providers arrived at the capitol on February 20 to stand up for Oregon’s children and working families. Providers from all corners of the State came to share their stories.

Frederick Flood, from Tillamook, was unable to find employment in his local community after moving here from Alaska with his family, despite his previous work experience and college degrees. Frederick has been a child care provider with the Employment Related Daycare Program for the last 3 years. He brought Austin, one of the children he cares for, to meet with his legislators. Austin’s parents depend on Frederick to provide affordable, quality care so they can go to work every day and remain self-sufficient.

Gina Vanelli from Portland told her legislators that despite her Master’s degree, she was unemployed until she started doing care for her grandchildren. Her daughter works at the Dollar Tree and cannot bring her child to a day care center because it is too expensive, and she works weekends and evenings, when most centers are not open.

Legislators heard these stories, and many more. Many had no idea that home-based child care providers are paid less than minimum wage. One provider, Kassaundra Nichols from Baker City, had the chance to stop Governor Kitzhaber as he passed her in the hallway outside one of the galleries. She reached out to shake his hand, and let him know, “Hi, Governor, we’re here for ERDC!” We hope the Governor and all of those legislators heard our message!

Here is some of what we shared with them about why SEIU and AFSCME Child Care Providers are truly IN IT TOGETHER:

• We need increased rates
: Child Care Providers in Oregon have not had a pay increase since 2007 and make, on average, $2 per hour per child.

• Working families need access to affordable child care: Oregon has implemented drastic cuts to the ERDC program, which means fewer parents have access to affordable child care. Without the assistance of the child care program, a parent who earns minimum wage cannot afford even the least expensive cost child care options.

• Kids deserve quality care. Union child care providers have been advocating for improved trainings and tools for early learning and school readiness.

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