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Resolutions & Amendments

29th International Convention - Miami, FL (1990)

Child Care Workers

Resolution No. 32
29th International Convention
June 25-29, 1990
Miami, FL


Many studies have proven the link between the quality of child care and the training and compensation of child care workers. Better education, training, salaries, and benefits clearly make for more sensitive and appropriate caregiving, less turnover, and better language and social development among children. Yet, as the demand for child care skyrocketed during the last decade, child care staff wages plunged more than 20 percent when adjusted for inflation; and


Child care workers constitute a very poorly paid work force. According to a National Child Care Staffing Study conducted by the Child Care Employee Project (CCEP), the average hourly wage of child-care teachers in 1988 was $5.35, which is an annual income of $9,363 for full-time employment. The 1988 poverty threshold for a family of three was $9,431 a year. Fifty-seven percent of these workers earned $5 per hour or less. Most got no yearly cost-of-living or merit increases. Despite gains in overall formal education and experience, child care teaching staff was paid even less in 1988 than in 1977; and


Staff turnover has nearly tripled in the last decade jumping from 15 percent in 1977 to 41 percent in 1988. The most important determinant of staff turnover was staff wages; and


Most child care teachers, even full-time staff, received minimal employment benefits. Two out of five teachers received health coverage a one out of five had a retirement plan. Other than sick leave and paid holidays, the only benefit offered to a majority of the staff was reduced fees for child care. Teachers earning the lowest wages received the fewest benefits; and


In child care, children's experience is directly linked to the well-being of their care givers. Good quality care requires an environment that values adults as well as children. Yet, as a nation we are reluctant to acknowledge child care settings as a work environment for adults. Outdated attitudes about women's work and the family obscure our view of teachers' economic needs and the demands of their work; and


Child care Occupations are high stress. They entail heavy responsibility for the welfare of others and yet are undervalued, have incredible low status and are very poorly paid. The level of stress increases as the ratio of staff to children decreases, leading to more responsibility, less opportunity for relief, and more potential for emergency situations to occur; and


The inability of early childhood programs to attract and retain qualified staff is increasingly identified as one of the most serious barriers to the availability of quality child care. As a result, young children who need security and stability constantly must adjust to new caregivers; and


That AFSCME and its affiliates continue to:




That AFSCME councils and locals which represent child care workers negotiate strong language to:




That AFSCME International consider organizing child care workers a union priority and AFSCME will fight to have adequate staff available at all times.


Bettye W. Roberts, President
Alvin D. Turner, Secretary
AFSCME Council 1707
New York, NY