Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ECE Post

As an administrator in the Early Childhood field, I get a lot of stuff through my mailbox and email from all kinds of organizations. One that caught my attention a couple of months ago was the SEIU was initiating a proposal to unionize daycares. The fliers sent out sounded great from the teacher side of things. However, there is a bigger problem behind unionizing and force-unionizing.

I'm already anti-union. Dues that have to be paid to something that isn't even gauranteed to work and these advocates claiming that it's the only way now because nothing else is working. That's a bunch of baloney! If you really look hard enough and hear out others who have ideas, there are other ways that are better. We just have to keep advocating and not giving up! I have to say that I am impressed that Obama has Early Childhood Education as one of his top priorities. This was definitely an area of his platform I agreed with. (One of the few but that's beside the point.) Recently, several representatives from Washington met with Senators in D.C. to advocate and speak their mind about ECE in our state. It was fruitful. And Obama is ready to help.

So take a deep breath. Let's not be ready to jump into a forced-union and make sure you get all the facts. Make an informed decision and see it from every single angle.
Here is a quote from the Washington Child Care Alliance.

You may soon be in a union without your consent.
Many state legislators have sponsored bills that would force into a union every child care center which takes even one state-paid child. Employees will suddenly and without their consent end up in a union selected by the state if the owner of the child care center chooses to allow even one DSHS-paid (state-paid) child into care at the center. These bills do not limit or cap the dues amount that the union can take from child care employees, and these bills do not limit or cap the amount or percentage that the union can take from centers’ DSHS earnings. No employee of any child care center will have the opportunity to vote on whether he or she wants to be in the union. These bills specify that the union cannot interfere in the hiring or firing of child care center staff members or in employee/employer relationships or negotiations in such areas as wages, hours, or benefits. The employer and employees will all be in the same union, and the union can not negotiate with child care employers on behalf of employees.
About a year ago the state legislature required all day care home providers in Washington to join a union selected by the state. Far less than one-third of licensed day care home providers voted to join a union, yet all who accepted even one DSHS-paid child were forced to join. The union takes 2% of their DSHS earnings up to a cap of $50 per month. There is no cap on the individual child care workers’ union dues that they also pay. The similar bill that is now being proposed that would force child care centers and employees into a union contains no cap on union dues and no way for employees to have a voice in deciding what the dues amount will be.

If centers feel forced to cut or limit the number of DSHS-paid children, there may be fewer children in care at the center which may mean fewer employees. If the state forces them to give up a percentage of their DSHS earnings to a union, will they continue take state-paid children? Will they limit the number or limit the number even more than they have in the past?
If centers keep the DSHS-paid children, they might decide to raise rates for cash-paying clients to try to cover the deficit. Centers cannot operate at a loss and continue to do business; the money must come from somewhere. Raising cash rates could mean making the center less competitive with other centers, which could mean fewer cash-paying clients, which could necessitate reducing the number of staff. The effect of these bills, if passed, would be to make it more difficult for child care centers to stay in business and could impact employees.
If centers continue to take DSHS children and lose a percentage of their earnings, they may be forced to make cuts in some areas that will negatively affect employees. Many centers say that if this happens, they will need to make up for the revenue loss in some way if they choose to continue to care for state-paid children. For some centers, that may mean dropping state-paid children, reducing the number of state-paid children, raising prices to non-state-paid children, cutting employee benefits, cutting auxiliary staff or administrators, or some combination of these.

WCCA is working with legislators to stop these negative bills.
Look up House Bill 1329. It's not that great. In fact, it stinks.

3 comments:

Melissa Elsner said...

An added note: A group of supporters of the forced-unionization bill have sent to the Seattle Times and to all state senators a letter protesting the Seattle Times editorial against House Bill 1329. The letter *claims* that these 21 people are the largest organization of child care people in the state, and they want the senators to pass House Bill 1329. The letter did not mention that some of those listed are home day care providers and some are from exempt, non-profit centers. Um.. HELLO! Today at a Directors Meeting at DSHS, we signed a letter to the Seattle Times claiming quite the contrary. There are actually 100's of providers strongly *against* this House Bill.

Erica said...

that's a horrible proposal. i think if they pass it (which they shouldn't) it'll come back to bite them in the arse ('scuse my french). that's my prediction.

so, not being aware of early childhood issues myself, what are the issues that's leading to this stance?

Melissa said...

It will bite them in the arse. The thing that worries me is that there's no awareness of where exactly or to whom the union dues would go to in the first place. I hate that. Issues are worthy wages, trainings, health care benefits, education and various other things. ECE has always been at the bottom of the totem pole with education. But that's changing now that Obama is in office. Thank goodness! Even though I didn't vote for him, this was an area I was conflicted with when deciding who to vote for because he's a HUGE advocate for early intervention and education and supporting professionals in this field.
The other thing is.. they claim that we'll get more money for this area of education but there isn't any money. So it just seems a little whack to me. It's hard for me to get on board. I'd rather see an alternative in front of me so I can really weight my options.