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20,000 Pennsylvania Child Care Providers Gain a Union


20,000 Pennsylvania Child Care Providers Gain a Union

by James Parks, Apr 28, 2008

Child care providers in Pennsylvania are gaining a voice by joining a union.

Some 20,000 home-based child care providers in Pennsylvania now have a voice after they overwhelmingly voted for representation by Child Care Providers UNITED (CCP), a joint effort of AFSCME and SEIU.

Gov. Ed Rendell (D), who was elected with strong union support, signed an executive order last June granting providers the right to join a union if they care for no more than three unrelated children in their homes. The executive order called for an election to take place after a union collected signed authorization cards from at least 30 percent of the providers.

The order also called for the commonwealth to develop a strategy to assist the providers, who are not required to register with the state, to register and gain access to tools to provide better quality care and education to children they serve.

This is the second group of child care providers in Pennsylvania to join a union. Last October, some 3,700 registered providers in the state voted for CCP. Those providers are required to register with the state in order to care for four to six unrelated children in their home.

Negotiations for the registered child care providers are scheduled to begin next month, says Bonnie Caldwell, CCP’s executive director. She says that after CCP won the election for these workers last year, the providers elected a bargaining committee, conducted a bargaining survey and held meetings across the state to determine the issues most important to them, with training and professional development among the key concerns.

In a statement, Caldwell says:

We are transforming the child care industry here in Pennsylvania. Studies have linked quality child care in the early years with better academic performance and less problematic behavior among schoolchildren, and with our new unified voice, we’ll be able to raise child care standards across the entire state.

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