This fall, Vermont Early Educators United is working with First Book to deliver free books to children across the state through our early education providers.
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Vermont Early Educators United File for Union Election

MONTPELIER, VT - A majority of home-based early educators have come together and asked the Vermont Labor Relations Board to begin the process certifying Vermont Early Educators United, AFT, as the organization that they have formed to negotiate as equals with the state.

"We have been organizing for this moment for five years," said Kay Curtis, a licensed home provider in Brattleboro, " We're voting yes so we can negotiate for increased respect and pay. Once we prove our majority, providers will negotiate as equals with the state and advocate for what is best for Vermont's children."

Providers may now organize because of Act 187, signed into law by Governor Peter Shumlin in June. The new law allows home-based early educators in Vermont who provide child care services that are subsidized by the state to form a union and negotiate with the state over payment, professional development and other mutually agreed upon issues.

"We have started the process which will prove that the majority of providers want to come together and negotiate," Emily Creighton-Pryer, a registered home provider in Bradford, explained. "Once the Labor Board has notified providers about the election, then we will get to vote. I can't wait to fill out my ballot with a YES."

A majority of home based providers have joined the union and are asking the VLRB to certify the majority status, most likely through a mail ballot, so that providers can begin negotiations with the state.

The election is expected to take several weeks, and if successful, the union will then form a negotiating committee, ratify proposals and then meet with the administration to negotiate a legally binding contract.

Vermont Early Educators United is affiliated with AFT Vermont. The union has been working with providers to get the enabling legislation passed into law. Ben Johnson, President of AFT Vermont celebrated the filing, stating, "It is an honor to work with these providers and to finally get to this point where they will be able to vote 'union yes.' Teachers, healthcare professionals, faculty and higher education professionals look forward to supporting early education professionals as they organize and negotiate a first contract.

We Get Results When We Organize

Gains won by early care & education providers around the country

Here is a sampling of gains won by child care providers and early educators around the country—an inspiring portrait of what happens when providers join together. While officials may ignore the voice of a lone provider, they do not dismiss the force of a loud chorus of advocates for quality child care and early education. This brief catalog is the evidence of our growing power.

Advocates of every political persuasion – from the White House to the military to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – now agree on the importance of early education. But it’s us, the providers, who bring urgency to the cause.

To make progress and protect our gains, we must keep mobilizing.

Increased Provider Payments

* MA Union contract brings a 10 percent rate increase over three years, with increases for part-time care included.

* WA Unionization opens successful negotiations for the state’s first increase in the subsidy rate in 15 years.

* MD Union contract raises the child care subsidy rate and adds a credentialing bonus.
IL Family providers gain the ability to negotiate with the state and, two years later, win 35 percent rate increase, as well as access to health care and expanded training.

* NY Unions succeed in linking subsidy rates to market rates (75th percentile), stabilizing pay systems and winning millions of dollars in back pay.

* WA Teachers from 10 child care centers help establish a child care wage-career ladder linking specific job titles to wage scales.

* IA Through “meet and confer,” family providers win an increase in subsidy rate and faster subsidy disbursement (10 days!).
OR Unions win higher subsidies by linking subsidy rate to market rate.
NJ Unionized providers secure three cost-of-living adjustments (each at 3 percent) to increase subsidy payments over three years.

Accessing Healthcare

*NY Child care providers successfully bargain for healthcare benefits with the goal of covering all providers by the end of FY 2013-2014.

* IL Child care providers secure state funded healthcare benefits through their contract.

* MD Union/state form joint health care committee; win seat on the state Child Care Advisory Council.

Improving Quality for Children

* NY Unions win $14 million for quality improvement grants and commitment to collaborate on a quality rating system.

* MA Family providers win improved access to QRIS training materials — in multiple languages — and other professional development opportunities.

* IL, WA & OR Unions win a training program for informal family child care providers, reaching providers who have the least training and social support for the very first time.

* NYC 5,000 providers get free educational kits with toys, books, puzzles and blocks linked to a literacy-based curriculum developed by the Teacher Center at United Federation of Teachers.
WA Union wins a subsidy bonus for licensed providers who participate in the quality improvement program.

* IL Providers work to expand state’s food program to offer nutritious meals to up to 90,000 added children.

Professional Development

* OR The providers’ union contract establishes a training fund, training committee and outreach to inform child providers about the state’s training opportunities.

* NYC Union builds train-the-trainer program and trains more than 4000 providers in CPR, AED and First Aid.

* KS Unionized child care providers establish a comprehensive PD system to focus on provider outcomes, regardless of setting.

* WA Union provides the state’s first training program for licensed exempt providers including a stipend to reward and incentivize providers to get a minimum of 10 hours of training per year.

* MI Providers bargain to create the Child Development Specialist Career Path Program, a structured path of high quality trainings with incentives for providers to improve their skills.

* NYC Providers bargain a $1.5 million training fund to help providers improve their children’s learning environments and a $500,000 PD fund.

A Voice in Regulation & Policy

* MD A state committee forms to review reimbursement rate policies in search of accurate subsidy rates, either using a market rate approach or such approaches as a quality cost model.

* KS A union Advisement Team consults with state on revisions in child care regulations and works for increased legislative funding.

* IA Family providers win right to view their confidential files at DHS; to have a representative present during home visits; to comment on DHS forms and materials; to participate on advisory boards; and grievance process.

* OR Union lobbies successfully to lower co-payments for parents and increase child care eligibility from 150 to 185 percent of federal poverty level.

Vermont Early Educator Announces Run for Rutland Senate Seat

RUTLAND, VT -- Earlier this week, Anissa DeLauri turned in her petition with the needed signatures to run for the Vermont State Senate in the Rutland district. Anissa has been a leader in Vermont Early Educators United AFT for the last four years.

Vermont Early Educators United (VEEU), AFT Vermont, has been working with child care providers across the state for four years to achieve the goal of having the right to organize. A bill granting this right passed early this year in the Senate, with a strong vote of 20-7, and the House passed the bill with a final vote of 78-59 at the very end of the legislative session. Governor Shumlin signed the bill into law on June 5th.

Anissa explained her work with VEEU, stating, "I believe child care providers should have an equal voice with the state so that we can improve early education for providers and the families we serve."

She also explained her motivation to run for Senate, "I'm not happy with the direction the state is going in. Too many working families struggle from paycheck to paycheck. Too many employers are cutting health care leaving Vermonters with less coverage and more out of pocket costs. And too many of our young people are burdened by out of control student debt. We can do better."

Anissa will run as a Democrat.

Governor Shumlin Signs Law Giving Vermont's Early Educators the Right to Organize

BURLINGTON, VT -- Today at Nan Reid's home-based child care, Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law S.316, giving Vermont's early educators the right to decide whether or not to form a union. If the providers do organize, they will also have the right to negotiate with the state about the subsidy rates paid for child care for children in low-income families, as well as professional development opportunities.

Vermont Early Educators United, AFT Vermont, has been working with child care providers across the state for four years to achieve the goal of having the right to organize. Nan Reid has been one of those providers asking for this right. At the ceremony, Nan was already noting the next step, "Now that we have won the right to join together, we will be reaching out to all of our colleagues, asking them to join with us so that we can negotiate for real improvements. Just like nurses, teachers and firefighters have done, we look forward to proving our majority, electing a negotiation team, ratifying contract proposals and sitting down with the administration to negotiate a contract."

The bill passed early this year in the Senate, with a strong vote of 20-7, and the House passed the bill with a final vote of 78-59 at the very end of the legislative session.

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers celebrated with the Vermont child care providers, saying, "This is a great step in a long-term effort by early childhood educators to secure a voice to strengthen their profession and advocate on behalf of the children and families they serve. Now early child care providers in Vermont will have the opportunity to organize and win a stronger voice."

Kay Curtis of Happy Hands--a School for Little People, celebrated the day, saying, "This is a great day for Vermont's early educators and the families we serve. We want to thank the Governor and the legislature for respecting us and the work we do by giving us the right to come together and negotiate for improvements for providers and children."

Now that the bill has been enacted, the Vermont Labor Relations Board will outline the process for the election, which is expected to take place in the fall.

VPR: Legislature Allows Child Care Union Amid Concerns Over Cost

Read or listen in full at VPR
May 6, 2014 | By Bob Kinzel

A bill that allows home-based child care providers to unionize and negotiate subsidies with the state has won final approval in the House and is on its way to Gov. Peter Shumlin for his signature.

Backers of the bill have worked for four years to win approval in the Legislature and the final step in the process was when the House passed the legislation by a vote of 78 to 59.

[...]

Vermont House Passes the Right to Organize for Vermont's Early Educators

The Vermont House passed S.316, a bill offering Vermont's Early Educators the right to organize and collectively bargain with the state. With a final vote of 78-59 the House has passed a bill that has been four years in the making.

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers celebrated with the Vermont child care providers, saying, "This is a great step in a long-term effort by early childhood educators to secure a voice to strengthen their profession and advocate on behalf of the children and families they serve. Now early child care providers in Vermont will have the opportunity to organize and win a stronger voice. We thank the legislature for standing with early childhood educators and look forward to the Governor signing this into law."

Kay Curtis of Happy Hands--a School for Little People, celebrated, saying, "Early care and education providers across Vermont and the families they serve are elated that the right to organize has been given this approval by the House. We want to make sure that working families have the support they need and that Vermont has the best early education system in the country. We thank the Representatives for their support."

The House General, Housing and Military Affairs committee chose to accept the Senate version of the bill and to recommend to the full House of Representatives to approve the bill so that it could go straight to the governor's desk, once it is approved at third reading. Governor Shumlin and his administration have shown support for the bill throughout the year.

Stephanie Wheelock, Play 2 Learn Child Care in Rutland, who was listening to the debate online, enthused, "I so appreciate the House members who have shown support for our basic right to come together and organize. I am proud to be working with my fellow providers to improve quality for the children we serve and to ensure that we are paid fairly for the important work we do every day."

The legislation enjoys the strong support of Gov. Shumlin and he says he will enthusiastically sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

http://digital.vpr.net/post/legislature-allows-child-care-union-amid-con...

Vermont Senate Approves the Right to Organize for Vermont's Early Educators

The Vermont Senate today approved offering Vermont's Early Educators the right to organize and collectively bargain with the state. With a final vote of 20-7, the Senate has passed a bill that has been four years in the making.

Kay Curtis of Happy Hands--a School for Little People, celebrated, saying, "Early care and education providers across Vermont and the families they serve are elated that the right to organize has passed the Senate. We want to make sure that working families have the support they need and that Vermont has the best early education system in the country. We thank the Senators for their support."

The bill will now move to the House, where the House General, Housing, and Military Affairs committee is expected to take the bill up sometime after the Town Meeting Day break.

Stephanie Wheelock, of Play 2 Learn Child Care in Rutland, who was listening to the debate online, enthused, "I wish I was able to give every Senator a hug for all the support they have given. Their testimonies showed such appreciation and passion for our work. It's a good day!"

Child-care workers collective bargaining bill sails through Senate committee

Read the full article at VTDigger
John Herrick, Jan 7, 2014

[...] Sen. Dick McCormack, D-Windsor, who chairs the Education Committee, said early education unionization, one of his top priorities this year, has the votes to pass the Senate.

“It’s a good bill, it creates a good policy. Collective bargaining in a fundamental human right and these people – overwhelming woman, though not all – who do this important work ought to have the power that comes with the union,” he said. “This is the moment when it will come to the full Senate on its merits.”

McCormack said the legislation has never had a clean up or down vote and has been previously buckled under procedural scrutiny.

Last year, the bill, which was tacked on to a miscellaneous education bill, stalled in the Senate after Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, who chairs the Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee, questioned whether the collective bargaining provision was germane to the underlying education bill.

The bill is heading for Senate Appropriations Committee. It is likely to hit the floor sometime in the next week, said Committee Vice Chair Don Collins, D-Franklin. [...]

Kay Curtis: Collective bargaining needed to win Race to the Top

Read the full commentary at VTDigger

January 5, 2014

[...] We know that in order to achieve our goals, we must ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care, and too few families in Vermont qualify for state subsidies. Unfortunately, the Race to the Top funding cannot be used to support working families in this way.

We also know that one of the biggest issues we must address is the wage gap between early educators and other teachers who work in the K-12 schools. In part because of this wage gap, the turnover rate in early education is approximately 40 percent. Gov. Shumlin acknowledged that early educators need to be granted the ability to organize so that the issue of fair pay can be addressed.

Vermont Early Educators United is committed to ensuring quality, affordable early education for all Vermont families and also to ensuring that our providers are treated with respect and paid fairly for the important work that they do. The National Women’s Law Center conducted a study in 2010 that shows that union representation of the early education workforce results in improved services, increased reimbursement rates, and more access to early education for low-income families. [...]