November 5, 2019
On September 30, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 378, our bill to fix California’s broken child care system. With that stroke of the pen, family child care providers got our collective bargaining rights and the tools we need to make positive changes for ourselves, our families and the children we care for. Also known as the Building a Better Early Care and Education System Act, AB 378 will finally put decision-making power into the hands of those who know child care best: family child care providers.
This landmark legislation grants family child care providers collective bargaining rights, which means that, should we choose union representation in an election next year, all 40,000 of us get to negotiate with the state as one united voice when it comes to things like subsidy rates and slots, and how we are reimbursed. It also means that we get to use our combined voices to advocate for changes that will make our state’s child care system work better for providers, families, and the children we care for.
This is a fight we have been waging for sixteen years, and it was a moment to savor. On October 24, Governor Newsom joined CCPU members, AFSCME international president Lee Saunders and SEIU international president Mary Kay Henry for a celebration in Los Angeles of our new rights and status.
CCPU-UDW member Charlotte Neal addressed the crowd and explained how important this victory is. “This is a great day for childcare providers and the kids we take care of,” she said. “We are mostly women and mostly people of color. Now we are taking control of our destinies and are read to fix this broken child care system. Every Californian is going to benefit from what we accomplished with AB 378.”
“You did it!” President Saunders congratulated us in his remarks. “You provide a safe place for our youngest children to learn, to flourish, to grow…I don’t think there is any job that matters more than that,” he said. “For too long, you have been overlooked, for too long you have been undervalued, for too long you have been overworked. Well, that stops today!”
People all over the country have been talking about our victory on AB 378 for a good reason: California has the largest economy in the country. In fact, if California was its own country, we would be the fifth largest economy in the world. When this state makes a big move to make the economy more fair for working people, it is big news. We are showing the world what can be done when family child care providers get together and leading the way for providers in other states.
Check out some of the national stories on our win:
Our celebration moment was just that: a moment. We have too much work to do to stop for long. Our new collective bargaining rights are the most powerful tool we’ve ever had but, like any tool, it is up to us to use it to build something amazing. So as soon as the ink was dry on AB 378, we went right back to work. In October we knocked on doors all over the state, talking to family child care providers, hearing their stories, and making plans for what we can do together. Soon, we expect to be able to file for our union election, which would then take place in 2020. We will be working together over the next six months to talk to child care providers across the state to vote YES for union representation so we are able to use these newly won rights.
Thousands of providers have joined our movement and, for every provider that adds their voice, we get a little bit stronger. Now, with the strongest voice we’ve ever had, we are ready to speak our truths to everyone who needs to hear us. Thanks to AB 378 we can now fight for better pay, more benefits, and a better subsidized care system. But first we need to come together by joining our union, CCPU-UDW. There’s never been a better time —you definitely want to be a part of what comes next!
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