Janus v AFSCME. Those three words have packed a lot of punch for working people in the last few years with the goal of striking fear in our hearts. Instead, we’ve been invigorated to stand stronger and fight harder for good jobs and giving families a shot at the California dream. And family child care providers are on the front lines of the fight.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in Janus v AFSCME, a lawsuit that seeks to undermine union protections for working people. Child care providers are joining our fellow workers across California to put the rich and powerful interests behind the case on notice: we will not be divided.
For us child care providers, the case is an opportunity to highlight our 15-year fight to win the right to unionize and collectively bargain with the State of California and to show the difference a union can make for all children and families.
As Alice DeLaGarza, a family child care provider in Tulare County and member of SEIU Local 521, shared as she joined a rally in Bakersfield: “I see how Tulare County families are struggling to make ends meet, working two and even three jobs but still trapped in poverty. As a working mother who has languished in low-wage jobs, I know the stress sudden cuts in pay, irregular work schedules or sudden medical bills can place on a family and children. A union cures those issues, can change the course for generations of families and ensure we build up middle-class jobs for our future workforce.”
Agustina García, a family child care provider in Pacoima and member of SEIU Local 99, said: “We’ve seen the strength of unions in action, particularly for working women and mothers. Parents are able to care for their sick children thanks to guaranteed sick time. Moms and dads can take time off to make it to parent-teacher conferences. We want these advancements for all children and families, including family child care providers.”
And as Nancy Harvey, Oakland area family child care provider and member of SEIU Local 521, summed it up: “Even as I stand in a profession that has yet to be given a voice and union rights by the state of California, I firmly believe in standing strong with my fellow working people who are fighting to ensure all families have a chance to live and work with dignity and stability.”
The fight is far from over in Janus v AFSCME and securing the right to collective bargaining but it’s clear: family child care providers are standing strong together with each other and their fellow working people today and beyond.