Hundreds of Child Care Members, Union Activists and Child Care Advocates Storm City Hall for Wage Parity
Updated On: Jun 05, 2018
Executive Director Kim Medina speaking at City Hall to the hundreds assembled for wage parity.
NEW YORK --- Hundreds of public day care and Head Start members poured onto the steps of City Hall to protest the lack of wage parity for center-based child care workers. Joined by child care advocates and elected officials, members could feel the tide of support turning their way. They displayed boisterous emotions from the speeches. They chanted union slogans and that the… “time is now” repeatedly for wage parity.
Executive Director Kim Medina was joined by Public Advocate Letitia James, Steven Levin, the Council General Welfare Committee Chair, Executive Director and AFSCME International Vice President Henry Garrido and City Councilman Jumaane Williams, also a candidate for NYS Lt. Governor.
More than a dozen city councilpersons and child care advocates spoke. The union teamed with the Campaign for Children to organize the event.
“Our members in public day care and Head Start are not asking for handouts but for wage parity,” said Medina. “City and New York State regulations require our members to obtain advanced education and certifications but they are treated with disrespect and annoyance. Day care and Head Start centers cannot remain open if they do not have a teacher with advanced degrees and certifications. Yet they are pushed aside, ignored when they openly demand wage parity. Our time is now!”
Wage inequities have endured since Mayor John Lindsay initiated public center-based day care in the 1960’s after riots in New York City. Lindsay did not want the newly-formed public child care industry to be city employees, to pay them less. Over the years to subsequent city and state regulations forced day public center-based child care workers to possess the same degrees and certifications as New York City public school teachers but never advanced concerned that their salaries should be equal to public school teachers.
The two-and- three tier system existed without few changes. During the 12-years of the Bloomberg Administration the wages and benefits of unionized child care workers were under full assault. Bloomberg closed scores of centers, terminated hundreds of employees and during his last two terms refused to settle both day care and Head Start contracts despite scores of demonstrations, protests and other political activities developed by the union and its allies.
The Di Blasio Administration is now pushing to transfer the early childhood functions from Administration for Children’s Services to the Department of Education. While many members have expressed apprehensions about the transfer, others including members of the city council are saying that the move could work if wage or pay parity is included.
In a discussion with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson at the rally, he implored that change was coming. In the Response to the Fiscal Year 2019 Preliminary Budget and Fiscal Year Preliminary Management Report, the report declares that…” The Council requests that the Administration create pay parity across the early child care educations and public schools as Early Learn transitions into DOE.”
The report further states, “As a part of this transition, the pay disparity across the public education system must be corrected.”