California labor contract promises raises for child care providers

Mariana Dale Aug 3, 2021
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Sylvia Hernandez opened Blossom to Success Child Care in her Los Angeles home in 2007. Mariana Dale

California labor contract promises raises for child care providers

Mariana Dale Aug 3, 2021
Heard on:
Sylvia Hernandez opened Blossom to Success Child Care in her Los Angeles home in 2007. Mariana Dale
HTML EMBED:
COPY

More than 40,000 California family child care providers will see a raise next year thanks to the Child Care Providers United union’s first labor contract with the state.

“We don’t stop here, I can do so much,” said Los Angeles provider and negotiations team member Sylvia Hernandez. “I can give so much to my community and to my providers … I feel very, very powerful.”

After months of negotiations, the union and state reached an agreement in June and members voted overwhelmingly to ratify the contract in July.

“This is about fundamental infrastructure, the human capital that’s as important as roads and bridges and broadband and all the other things,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom as he signed the union’s contract into law during a live-streamed press conference.

People who care for kids in their homes through state subsidy programs for low-income families fought for more than 15 years for the right to bargain for better working conditions; their union was recognized after a July 2020 election.

More than 60% of listed home-based child care providers in California are Latinx, Black or Asian, according to UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment.

Hernandez is a second-generation family child care provider and said increasing reimbursement rates was a top priority.

“Seeing my mom work so many hours, getting paid so little, I said, ‘I need to do something,’” she said.

Hernandez employs several assistants and said she is open 24 hours a day, five days a week to make ends meet.

Andrea Hernandez hugs a child at Hernandez's daycare.
Hernandez has to pay assistants like Andrea Flores (pictured) minimum wage but said her own salary often amounts to less than that after she subtracts the expenses of running her business. (Photo by Mariana Dale)

In L.A. County where Hernandez lives, the state pays a bit more than $56 a day for the care of each infant.

The union said the contract guarantees raises of at least 15% starting in January. The deal also includes $40 million for training and about $3 million to encourage more people to join the child care workforce.

There’s still more work that needs to be done though, said Ivy Love, a senior policy analyst in the Center on Education & Labor at the think tank New America.

“There’s still significant broad federal underinvestment in these workforces,” Love said.

California is among roughly a dozen states where child care workers have collective bargaining power.

“One of the areas where folks have actually been able to make strides in the right direction … were in places that had organized,” Love said.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.