by Danny Friedman | May 13, 2011
Secretary-Treasurer Lee A. Saunders speaks out against proposed cuts to child care services during a rally at New York City Hall. (Photo credit: Michel Friang)
A massive crowd of AFSCME activists marched on New York City Hall on Wednesday to protest proposed cuts to child care services in the city budget. AFSCME members were joined by the Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care, a group consisting of parents and children who rely on the services the members of District Council 1707 provide every day. According to Coalition estimates, Mayor Bloomberg's proposal would deny subsidized day care services to 7,000 children of low-income working families next year.
Secretary-Treasurer Lee A. Saunders was a featured speaker at the event along with DC 1707 Executive Director Raglan George, DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
Saunders rallied the crowd saying, "We are here to speak up for the children of New York. We have got to stand up for them like never before, and we demand fairness!"
Despite what some are saying, child care has not yet been saved. The executive budget restores only $40 of the $91 million cut. New York City’s children deserve more than a game of musical chairs. These cuts are a dramatic reversal of the city’s promise to expand early learning opportunities for our children. Parents have been notified that there may not be a day care program available to serve their children next year.
"I have no idea where I will put my kids, and I don’t know what to do with them. I will not be able to work," said Katimi Bouare, one of the parents at the rally.
Members of several other NYC unions and members of the City Council joined the Coalition in solidarity and pledged to fight to restore child care funding. Councilman Robert Jackson said, "I am glad to see that you are ready to fight. The City Council is going to make sure that there are no cuts to day care."