We celebrated our “birthday” in Fresno in February to continue our work together to improve Head Start and early education.
Representing four SEIU locals working at 11 different Head Start agencies, 25 member leaders were hosted by Local 521 for a busy weekend.
One big topic of conversation was the “Fight for $15 and a union” movement sweeping the country. We asked ourselves how we could be a part of this campaign to raise wages for all working people—including the parents who rely on our Head Start programs. Fast food workers, airport personnel, home care workers and others have been involved for a year or more. But we know many early education workers are also struggling with low wages. We decided to officially become a part of this campaign and do turnout for the April 15 event. We agreed that a $15-an-hour minimum wage proposal should be part of all of our contract negotiations this year.
We also got the latest news on SB 548, legislation that will increase child care slots in California, increase funding for training for all early education workers and win union bargaining rights for family child care providers. We agreed to doing turnout for the April 28/29 Sacramento Lobby Trip to ensure passage of this bill.
The part of SB 548 that increases training and education opportunities sparked a lot of interest. Delegates at this Head Start Council meeting formed a subcommittee to coordinate with the SEIU staff who are working on apprenticeship, College for America and loan forgiveness programs that could make a big difference for our Head Start members.
We agreed that we would encourage all of our local unions to ensure that we adjust our political candidate endorsement questionnaires to include a question that measures their support for early education.
We agreed on next steps to work as a Council to improve the main form used by Head Start in California to track children’s progress. We formed a subcommittee to work on this issue
Finally, we committed to sharing recompetition warning signs and contract language on successorship and staff ratios.
The Council will continue to meet and reach out to other SEIU early care and education workers in California. We are stronger together!
Count me in!