Local 3937: U of M Technical Employees

Child-Care Providers Stand Together

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Kim Foss, of Grand Rapids, is among in-home child-care providers organizing for a bigger say in her future.

Council 5 is helping in-home providers gain a voice, lift their profession, and improve opportunities for kids and working parents. Members of their union, Child Care Providers Together, talk about the joys, challenges and hopes they have -- and about the important role they fill in raising children.

Good for kids: Right now, half of Minnesota’s kids are not ready for kindergarten. Quality child care can change that.

Good for parents: Home-based providers are parents’ most affordable, most flexible, and often most-reliable option.

Far more than babysitters: Providers say they need the wisdom of a parent, the knowledge of a teacher, the heart of a social worker, the healing power of a pediatrician, the savvy of an entrepreneur, and the patience of a saint.

The hardest part of the job: Child-care providers face all the challenges of running a small business, and then some.

The best part of the job: That's easy -- it's the kids.

State squeezes their businesses: One thing providers learn quickly is that they’re not in it for financial gain.

A union built for the future: There's no doubt about it -- Council 5’s Child Care Providers Together is not a traditional union.


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