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40,000 child care providers win COVID-19 relief

Photo credit: CCPU
By AFSCME Staff ·
40,000 child care providers win COVID-19 relief
Photo credit: CCPU

LOS ANGELES – A massive COVID-19 relief package Gov. Gavin Newsom signed this week will allocate hundreds of millions of dollars to California child care providers.

Assembly Bill 82 will help keep the doors of family child care centers open to essential workers, support the distance learning needs of children, and allow family child care providers to support their own families, given the increasing costs of COVID-19 precautions.

Members of Child Care Providers United (CCPU) have spent the last year sounding alarms about COVID-19’s devastating impact on providers across the state, with the pandemic threatening to devastate a system already in crisis.

“California’s child care providers have been waiting far too long for basic relief from this devastating pandemic,” said Johanna Puno Hester, an AFSCME vice president and vice chairperson of CCPU.

“From increased access to personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to additional paid closure days, this is a desperately needed step from the state to do what’s right for a workforce made up of women of color making below minimum wage while taking on significant expenses,” she added. “We look towards our partnership with the state to ensure these critical funds get distributed swiftly to our front-line workers.”

CCPU brings together 40,000 family child care providers throughout California and is a partnership of SEIU Local 99, SEIU Local 521, and UDW/AFSCME Local 3930. Having achieved this significant victory, CCPU members will use the streamlined process agreed to with the state to continue addressing the many challenges providers and families still face related to COVID-19.

“With so many of my parents working essential jobs, closures are a constant risk,” said Lucrece Lester, a provider from Contra Costa County and a member of CCPU’s negotiations team. “Simultaneously, these parents cannot do their jobs without somewhere safe to send their children. I’m proud child care workers came together to fight for this agreement, so we can continue to provide this vital support for California families.”

CCPU members are also negotiating their first collective bargaining agreement with the State of California, finally addressing issues like provider compensation and benefits, training and professional development, and other priorities. While AB 82 represents a critical first step, members look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the state to build a 21st-century, high-quality child care system that meets every child, parent, and early educator’s needs.

The full text of the bill is available here, and here’s a quick breakdown of what providers can expect:

While not part of the formal agreement, the state has agreed to spend over $150 million to continue expanding emergency child care for essential workers.

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