After months of negotiations and a number of vigils, marches and rallies to spur public support, California’s unionized child care providers have reached a new labor deal with the state.
The new tentative contract agreement addresses provider demands for increased rates and guaranteed funding for health care and retirement funds.
“This is a welcome relief, because it relieves some stress,” said Charlotte Neal, who runs a 24-hour child care business out of her home in South Natomas. “It means providers can keep their doors open.”
The deal sets aside nearly $600 million for pay raises, in the form of increased subsidy rates, over the next two years. It earmarks $80 million each year for retirement, $100 million annually for health care and additional funds for training and continuing education. Providers also received a two-year extension on a policy that allowed them to be paid based on enrollment rather than attendance – a policy that provides a financial cushion in case of unexpected absences. The union Child Care Providers United first announced the agreement late last Friday, June 30 – just hours before the previous contract was set to expire. Members will vote to ratify the contract within the next few weeks.
Still, CCPU, which represents the more than 40,000 child care workers in California, had hoped for more. “It’s not all of what we wanted,” Neal said. “But this is a great start.”
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