(Albany, NY)The Senate Majority passed, yesterday, legislation, introduced by Senator Diane J. Savino (D-Brooklyn/Staten Island), guaranteeing the right of child care workers to organize.
The legislation makes permanent, an executive order, signed by former Governor Eliot Spitzer and later extended by Governor David Paterson, giving home-based child care providers the right to unionize.
Previously, the providers, who are reimbursed by the state for taking care of children from low-income families, could not unionize because they were considered independent contractors. Under the legislation, they are considered quasi-employees of the state, giving unions an employer to bargain with.
Child care providers perform an essential service for working parents in this state by offering a safe, educational, affordable and enjoyable home-like environment for children. Many of New York's children spend a significant part of their early years, which are critical for development, under the supervision of child care providers. They provide meals and snacks, help children with reading, learning colors and numbers, help with homework, direct safe play, and change diapers.
The signing of the executive order in 2007, marked a victory for the thousands of child care providers, who had long struggled with low pay and no benefits, some even paying for such things as diapers and toys, themselves. However, because this order needs to be continuously extended, Senator Savino saw the need to make permanent their right to collectively organize and fight for better pay and working conditions.
“Providing care for our children is the most important work one can do. It is in the best interest to develop a child care delivery system that fosters quality. Good working conditions, mean quality workers and that is good for both the providers and the families who rely on them,” said Senator Savino.