A look back at 2016

It’s been a busy year! Child care workers and parents have stood arm-in-arm to demand quality, affordable child care for all and $15/hour and union rights for those caring for kids. Take a look at some of the highlights from this year:

January:

Child care workers stand with all workers at the Supreme Court

Child care workers from across the country descended on Washington, D.C. to take part in a gathering outside the Supreme Court. Workers from all walks of life were there as oral arguments began inside on Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association — a case before the Court that aims to restrict the rights of people who serve the public to have a say in their wages and how to serve their communities.

Across the country, child care workers weigh in on state child care funding plans

Child care educators in California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut came together with parents and other allies, to share their experiences with their state officials. At the hearings, participants called for a living wage for workers and better access to quality, affordable child care for all families.

Read a recap of all CCDBG hearing actions around the country.

Child care workers turned out BIG in Charleston, SC and Des Moines, IA

On January 17 and January 29, child care workers and parents joined fast-food, homecare, and other underpaid workers in the Fight for $15 to protest ahead of Democratic and Republican debates in South Carolina and Iowa.

February/March:

Child Care Fight for $15 activist Dawn O’Neal joins Members of Congress as they unveil major expansion of child care

At a roundtable event in early February, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), and Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) unveiled the Child Care Access to Resources for Early-Learning (CARE) Act, which will provide a new federal investment to help improve our child care system. Fight for $15 activist Dawn O’Neal, a child care teacher from Atlanta, spoke at the event and called for higher wages for providers and quality and accessible care for parents.

Child care workers join debate actions in New Hampshire, Michigan, and South Carolina

The Fight for $15 movement made their voices heard in Greenville, SC, Detroit, MI, and New Hampshire. Thousands of fast-food, home care, child care, and other underpaid working people marched in solidarity to put pressure on our political leaders and to say: COME GET OUR VOTE!

Child Care providers hold NOC meeting; join members of the Fight for $15 at GOP debate protest in Miami

The national organizing committee (NOC) for the Child Care Fight for $15 campaign gathered in Miami to discuss strategy and to share their experiences. While in Miami, 100 Child Care Fight for $15 activists were also out in force at three separate actions. In the first two events, child care providers marched in solidarity with fast-food workers at separate McDonalds locations. Later in the day, providers joined underpaid working people at a Republican debate protest at the University of Miami.

April:

New EPI Study Reveals Depth of Child Care Crisis; Activists Speak Out at Events Around the Country

A report from the Economic Policy Institute found that investing in our broken child care system would put more money in the pockets of working people and improve the quality of care as well. By capping family child care expenditures at 10 percent of their income, more women could join and stay in the workforce, boosting national GDP by about $210 billion. In addition, raising wages to $15-an-hour would help 60% of the child care providers.

Child care providers, parents, and political leaders mobilized across the country in reaction to the study. Activists spoke out in favor of affordable child care for parents and $15-an-hour for providers.

Child Care at the April 14th Day of Action

On April 14th, child care providers stood with fast-food, home care, and other underpaid working people to demand $15/hour and union rights. In 20 cities, more than 1,000 leaders and activists in the Child Care Fight for $15 movement led marches, lobbied lawmakers, and held walk-a-days, panel discussions, and press conferences. It was our biggest day of action yet! We could see yellow shirts from coast-to-coast.

May:

Child care workers gather in Detroit

Child care workers and parents from the Fight for $15 gathered in Detroit for the SEIU convention in late May to celebrate our victories and plan next steps.

June:

White House Spotlights Wage Gap for Child Care Workers

Child care workers could earn the same amount of money—or more—sweeping floors or cutting hair as they do taking care of young children, according to a report from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services

The report, “High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce,” was released in conjunction with the first United States of Women Summit, which was convened by the White House Council on Women and Girls. Ninety-seven percent of the early childhood workforce is female.

July:

Child care in focus at DNC event; panelists discuss the need for child care reform

SEIU along with The Hill, Make It Work Action, American Women, and the Domestic Workers Legacy Fund hosted a panel discussion on affordable and quality childcare, paid leave, and equal pay. They were joined by Hilda Solis, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), and others.
Panelists mentioned that these key issues affect the economic security of all families, not just women. They went on to discuss the public demand for affordable, quality childcare policies that also pay a living wage and the need for public investment now.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) introduces the 21st Century Child Care Investment Act

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) introduced legislation that will ensure families have access to high-quality child care and workers are paid a living wage. Known as the 21st Century Child Care Investment Act, this legislation provides up to $14,000 a year to underpaid and middle-income families struggling with child care costs, and creates powerful incentives for child care programs to meet high-quality standards, including to pay child care workers a living wage.

August:

Fight for $15 National Convention in Richmond, VA

Nearly 300 child care providers and their supporters from across the country traveled to Richmond, VA in early August to join thousands of underpaid working people at the Fight for $15 convention.

At the former capital of the Confederacy, underpaid workers from more than a dozen industries drew links between the crisis of today’s falling wage floor and the effects of racist policies that have held back working people of color.

September:

First-ever Fight for $15 voter canvass

Child care workers and parents were out in force as part of the Fight for $15’s first-ever national canvass. Child care center teachers in Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, and Michigan knocked on the doors of people paid less than $15 per hour and mobilized them to get out and vote for $15 and affordable child care.

#MoralRevival

Child care workers joined the #MoralRevival day of action on Monday, September 12, 2016. We stood alongside hard-working Americans, the Fight for $15, Rev. William J. Barber, II, Repairers of the Breach, and others to demand that our elected leaders and candidates move to higher ground.

October:

Fight for $15 Facebook Election Townhall

Dayla Mikell, a child care provider from Florida and a first-time voter in 2016, participated in the Fight for $15 National Town Hall event in Kansas City, which focused on the issues facing the 64 million workers making less than $15/hour.

Panelists from swing states covered the intersection between race, gender, immigration status and the poverty wage system that leaves 42% of U.S. workers struggling to survive.

CCDBG Victory

After speaking out at hearings around the country and submitting thousands of public comments, we won key changes to CCDBG regulations. Thanks to our activism, we have real tools to win fair wages for workers and payment rates that cover those wages.

The Department of Health and Human Services just rolled out new national regulations that for the first time require state child care programs to report their plans to improve wages for child care teachers and caregivers. And states will have to listen to us FIRST, the people that actually do the work, before they come up with the payment rates.

November:

November 29 Day of Action

Hundreds of child care providers joined the Fight for $15 day of disruption with more than a dozen providers taking arrest in peaceful civil disobedience. Tens of thousands of underpaid people in 340 cities pledged to not back down and to fight against any efforts to block wage increases, gut workers’ rights, rip apart immigrant families, or cut our health care and child care.