She works 10 or more hours a day at least six days a week for what she estimates to be less than
On Monday night, Serrano and 40 other child care providers, all women and Latinas, gathered at a busy venue
They are door-to-door providers demanding that the state, which subsidizes childcare for low-income families, provide them with health insurance, a pension plan and better pay.
“We need our voices to be heard,” said
The protest was part of a nationwide ‘A Day Without Childcare’ call to action. Hundreds of vendors across the country shut down their businesses for a day to send a message that they need more support from state and federal governments.
“Families need our care,” said
Home providers said they also remained open throughout the pandemic when other sites were closed. Many of them have a bachelor’s degree in preschool education. The children in their programs range from babies to teenagers. They take older children to and from school.
Service providers open from
“I have known these families for 10 years, for 13 years, how am I not going to work with them? said Serrano. “I want to help families.
What we know: 6 out of 10
They said too often their voices go unheard and their needs unmet. the
A year ago, the union reached its first-ever collective agreement with the state, bringing a minimum 15% raise to providers who provide care to low-income, state-subsidized families. A union representative said talks with the state are ongoing over health care benefits and pension contributions.
Low wages and the enforced pandemic have compounded the national childcare shortage. A national survey conducted last summer found that 4 out of 5 early learning and child care centers were understaffed. Suppliers across the country said the issue had pushed some of them into less stressful, better-paying jobs in warehouses and restaurant chains.
Read more: Caregiver fatigue caused millions to suffer in silence during COVID-19
“Child care workers in our state receive some of the lowest wages compared to other occupations,” said
“There is just an assumption that women will subsidize a lack of investment by continuing to provide this care and that has been the case for decades,” she said. “It is time for state and federal leaders to recognize the critical nature of this work and provide adequate resources.”
“It would be catastrophic,” she said.
SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM: To see more stories like this, subscribe here.