28,000 home-based child care workers in New York will join the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). Until recently, they were unable to unionize because they were considered independent contractors, but new legislation classified them as quasi-employees.
The child care workers complain about low pay - averaging 19,000 dollar per year - and the lack of health insurance and paid vacations. “Unionizing is the only hope that we have as child care providers to make our voices heard and to get the respect we deserve”, Tammie Miller told the New York Times.
Critics of the decision to clasify the care providers as quasi-employees say the measure could cost the city up to 100 million dollar in increased wages and will make unions more powerful. However, a government official said talks with unions would be ‘conversations’ rather than ‘collective bargaining’ and need not result in higher wages.
Labour professor Jeannette Gabriel supports the measure: “These are some of the lowest paid workers in the state. Labor has seen the importance of public sector organizing, and organizing these workers seems like an obvious way to help them”.
The campaign to organise child care workers was a joint effort of the UFT and ACORN, an active community organisation that often works with trade unions.
New York Times, UFT, Union Review