Vt. providers remain divided on child care union - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. providers remain divided on child care union

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Parents tell Nan Reid the cost of day care can be daunting.

"I've seen that the parents are suffering more," Reid said.

She says state support hasn't kept up with the rate of inflation. Parents who used to qualify for state assistance don't and the cost is going up as more parents work than ever before.

"I found as a provider my own voice. I would call and say who do I talk to about this? And obviously the one voice just didn't have much power or clout," Reid said.

That's why Reid supports a child care union. She wants the state to increase subsidies given to parents that use her service, something she says providers haven't been able to accomplish on their own. Plus the union provides a forum she's never had as a professional.

"Until the union I didn't know any other providers," she said. "It's kind of an isolating job."

You may have seen her in Montpelier last legislative session in a blue shirt with other providers fighting for this bill to pass. Unlike a typical union, this wouldn't be employers and employees negotiating contracts. Instead, child care providers would have a union representative bargain on their behalf for money from the state. Their day cares would still be run as private businesses.

"It creates a whole layer of bureaucracy that we don't need between the child care providers and the state," Elsa Bosma said.

Bosma says this is another example of a government program we don't need. She says she contacts her representatives regularly and feels she already has a say on issues like increased subsidies.

"I think it will force a lot of good child care providers out of this business." she said. "It'll cause a lot of kids to lose their child care providers."

Bosma is concerned union formation will force providers like her to pay fair share dues which could prove too expensive for some providers; a cost she says she'll have to pass on to her customers.

It's an issue on the docket once again this upcoming session. Until then, these child care providers will continue to have their hands full.

The bill passed with overwhelming support in the House in 2010 and got stuck in the Senate in 2011.

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