California Child Care Workers Win Biggest Union Election In Years

July 28, 2020

Publicly funded child care providers in California have voted overwhelmingly to form a union, marking what organizers believe is the biggest U.S. union organizing election victory in years.

Roughly 43,000 child care providers will now be able to negotiate with the state over a contract that could impact the funding and training they receive for their work. The election was the result of a 17-year campaign waged by public-sector unions to pass state legislation allowing these workers to bargain collectively.

The workers, who provide child care to low- and middle-income families generally in home-based businesses, get subsidies from the state. They are not technically government employees, but Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a law last September granting them the right to bargain with the state over their reimbursement rates and other working conditions.

After the union vote tally was announced Monday, Miren Algorri, a child care provider in Chula Vista, noted in an online press conference that the win had taken close to two decades. Many child care providers joined the Zoom call from their in-home classrooms.

“This feels surreal,” said Algorri, who is licensed to care for up to 14 children in her house. “But we prevailed because that’s what we child care providers do. We work tirelessly, we don’t give up … and we do it because we care.”

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