Published on December 21, 2022
Rhode Island home childcare providers who are members of SEIU 1199 New England, together with representatives from the Rhode Island Department of Human Services, announced yesterday they reached an important new contract settlement agreement on December 3, 2022 – after nearly a year of bargaining. The new contract agreement represents important progress for hundreds of home childcare providers, whose critical service supports both childhood development and our local economic recovery.
“Our new contract is the best Christmas gift home childcare providers could have hoped for,” said Alexandra Flores, a Providence home childcare provider. “It will provide us with relief and allow us to maintain the quality of childcare our parents rely on every day. Increased CCAP rates means more food supplies and enough income to pay for gas, utilities and rent. What’s more, the training program will help us update our knowledge of children’s behavioral nutritional and educational needs.”
At a press event emceed by Jesse Martin, Executive Vice President of SEIU 1199 New England, many Rhode Island politicians were present, including Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, Rhode Island House of Representatives Majority Whip Katherine Kazarian (Democrat, District 63, East Providence), and State Representatives Grace Diaz (Democrat, District 11, Providence), Mary Ann Shallcross Smith (Democrat, District 46, Lincoln) and Scott Slater (Democrat, District 10, Providence).
“Today’s announcement is important for the stability, growth, and future of Rhode Island’s home childcare workers,” said Ron Racine, Senior Associate Director, RIDHS. “The progress achieved in this contract was realized through collaborative discussions focused on ensuring an opportunity for success for this important group of the state’s workforce. They are a tremendous resource for our children, working parents, and our economy.”
SEIU 1199NE and RIDHS worked collaboratively to address important issues impacting home childcare providers and the families they serve. The new 3.5 year contract will provide:
- Home childcare providers will now be included in the Brightstars system and as a result, the home childcare providers will now have a voice in Brightstars. [BrightStars is Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (TQRIS). A TQRIS is a method used in almost all states in the U.S. to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early care, education and school-age settings.] Home childcare providers will have the opportunity to shape upcoming changes to the Brightstars system to make it more responsive to the home childcare environment.
- Immediate across the board CCAP rate increases. The home childcare provider rates will receive the same percentage of market rate as childcare centers, with rates increasing as much as 30 percent for home childcare providers this year.
- A 2.5 percent rate increases in years two and three of the contract.
- Over one million dollars in retroactive payments, dating to January 1, 2022, issued immediately upon the execution of the contract.
- The establishment of a retirement savings plan for providers (non-State funded)
- A $375,000 increase in funding for the union-employer joint training fund, ESF, over the three years of the contract.
- A computing device worth up to $1,000 provided to every provider.
Historically, home childcare providers, who are predominantly Latina women of color, have struggled with lower wages, low reimbursement rates, and lack of retirement, as well as high out-of-pocket expenses. Home childcare providers offer a critical service that allows parents to remain in, or rejoin, the workforce, which contributes to the economy and provides an economic boost to working class communities. Providers are trained professionals, leaders in their community, and serve populations that have been hard hit by Covid-19 and its residual effects.
“Many providers had to close during the pandemic because they did not have enough kids to earn a living. Now this new contract will be motivating for them by giving them more financial stability to renew their licenses and pay for supplies, lead inspection, extra assistance and rent,” said Emma Villa, a home childcare provider from Providence. “This is the news we have been waiting for. It’s not just for the contract, it’s for the community who will see how important our work is. We now finally have the recognition and support we need and deserve.”
“I’ve been a childcare provider for the last 25 years and I like to call myself an educator,” said Ramona Botello, a home childcare provider from Providence. “That word is important because many of us are continuing our own education at CCRI or Rhode Island College. We are learning how to deal with special needs kids…”
District 1199 SEIU New England represents 29,000 health care and service workers in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Southeastern Massachusetts. In Rhode Island, 1199 SEIU NE represents over 4,000 members. 1199 SEIU NE is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) – a union of over 2 million members across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. SEIU has been a national leader in pushing the growing Fight for $15 and a Union movement.