Rhode Island to let certain day care workers join unions

by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

mcurtis@abc6.com

Certain child care workers in Rhode Island will now be able to join
unions.

The law signed by Governor Chafee, allows home–based day
care workers – who get state subsidies, to negotiate for better pay and
benefits.

Governor Chafee says it will lead to better trained day care
workers.

“I believe these are critical areas in a child's
development and if we can have more professional involved in the development of
the child, that's too all of our benefit,” Gov. Chafee said.

The law only applies to home–based child care and not public
or private child care centers.

ABC6 News Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “No
one is arguing with the goal of trying to improve the quality of child care
workers. The big controversy here at the State House, though, was the
cost.”

Since those who care for children can now unionize, that
could lead to benefits such as health care, disability, and retirement.

Critics say those costs will just be passed on to parents
who may not be able to afford it.

State Rep. Doreen Costa. (R-RI) said, “Say that they
are paying $300 dollars per week. Next thing you know it's going to be $350, $400
dollars a week because the health care kicks in, as well as the pensions. So I
am not quite sure if this is a good way to go.”

The union that will represent child care employees says
right now those workers only make an average of $11 thousand dollars a year to
care for kids.