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UDWA News Post

Providing Child Care in a Pandemic

CCPU-UDW members support essential workers while struggling to stay afloat

By caring for the children of essential workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CCPU-UDW members not only play a critical role in our state’s economy: we’re keeping Californians safe, fed, healthy and connected.

But while elected leaders have recognized the importance of family child care during the pandemic, the work we do has gotten even more difficult. Child care providers have taken on new and expensive safety and sanitation protocols. We’ve had to hire extra workers. And we’ve taken on the stress of a totally new expectation: facilitating distance learning for the school-aged children in our care. The costs (hello, wi-fi upgrades!) and pressure are adding up, and at the same time many of us are also losing children because their parents are unemployed or working from home. Nearly 6,000 family child cares have closed since the beginning of the pandemic, and thousands more teeter on the brink.

Luckily, family child care providers won full union representation last summer and we have a seat at the table to make sure California’s child care system makes it through the pandemic… and comes out stronger than ever before.

In January we began bargaining with the state. It’s been hard, but we are not going to stop until we get:

  • Compensation for extra pandemic expenses
  • More paid closure days
  • Increased subsidy slots for infants
    and toddlers
  • Increased subsidy rates
  • Quick and fair distribution of federal relief money

Child care providers have always been the experts on how to fix California’s broken child care system. It has never been more important for the state to listen to providers.

“I’ve been doing child care for 18 years,” said Charlotte Neal, a CCPU-UDW member from Sacramento. “I love my job and the role I get to play in children’s lives. Working together, we must solve the child care crisis so that providers like me can keep doing it.”