Day care that works for parents in the trades
–Suffolk Downs redevelopment PLA to support new program
Interested in early-morning childcare? Indicate your interest at the Care that Works site.
For any parents of young children, finding good, affordable day care can be a challenge. For plumbers and other people working in the building trades, it can be especially difficult to locate providers that can care for their children. That’s because their workday begins much earlier than most other people in the workforce, and the day care industry just isn’t designed to accommodate them.
What if there was a network of family childcare providers ready to welcome kids into their homes starting at 5 a.m.? Parents would be able to drop off their children and make it to the job site on time. That’s the idea behind Care that Works, a new program developed by Community Labor United. Part of the funds that HYM Investment Group is targeting to equity and inclusion initiatives in the Suffolk Downs project labor agreement will support Care that Works.
“For women in particular, childcare can be a barrier to getting access to good union jobs,” says Lindsay McCluskey, deputy director at Community Labor United. It’s a problem for people currently working in the trades as well as for people wanting to get into the trades. The problem boils down to who is going to watch their kids in the early morning, or what the day care industry refers to as “nonstandard hours.”
To address the issue, Community Labor United formed a coalition of community organizations concerned about childcare, including the apprentice preparedness program, Building Pathways, and unions representing childcare providers. “Together, we thought these groups could really make an impact and come up with solutions,” McCluskey says.
Caring for kids–and childcare providers
Care that Works is assembling a group of family childcare providers that would agree to accept children beginning in the early morning each day. As opposed to large group childcare facilities, family childcare providers are licensed by the state to care for up to 10 children in their home. This spring, Care that Works plans to launch a pilot program that would include five to ten family childcare providers.
At the same time, the organization is reaching out to construction workers and people enrolled in union-affiliated training programs to determine the need for early-morning childcare. To find out more information and to indicate your interest, go to carethatworks.org.
Once it has gathered families seeking childcare and providers that want to offer early-morning care, it will match them up.
“It‘s both about making sure that families working in construction have access to the childcare they need and recognizing that childcare workers deserve to have a living wage,” says McCluskey about the goals of the program. In recognition of the sacrifices that family childcare providers would make in changing their schedules and waking up earlier, Care that Works would compensate them with a rate differential. “Our campaign has a workers-rights perspective for childcare providers,” McCluskey adds.
In addition to the Suffolk Downs redevelopment PLA, other projects are supporting Care that Works. For example, MP Boston will be providing funds to the program through the project labor agreement it signed with the building trades unions for Winthrop Center, a building now under construction in downtown Boston.
Community Labor United works with grassroots organizations and labor unions on a variety of campaigns and initiatives. Among its programs is the Green Justice Campaign, which brings energy efficiency upgrades and jobs to Boston’s low-income communities and communities of color, and Public Transit, Public Good, which advocates for an affordable and efficient public transportation system that invests in workers and meets the needs of riders.