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Good pay and benefits will keep child care workers from fleeing

OTTAWA Good pay and working conditions will keep trained child care workers from taking their skills elsewhere, said CUPE National President Paul Moist in response to the child care labour market study released today.

You want people to stick around? Its not rocket science, said Moist. Pay them well and you lower staff turnover. Provide decent benefits and people stay longer. Upgrade their training. Provide education allowances. Invest in your workers and theyll commit.

The study, Working for Change: Canadas Child Care Workforce, found that wages and working conditions in licensed child care centres are so poor that staff are taking their skills to better resourced areas. The study showed that income in the child care sector was about half the national average for all occupations, and less than half as much as elementary school and kindergarten teachers.

A worker with a diploma working full-time at a centre could expect an average annual salary of $22,500. Full-time staff with no diploma earn on average $16,500.

The study recognized that unionization has played a critical role in improving wages, benefits, training opportunities and working condition. The link between quality and unionization included better wages and benefits, lower turnover rates and overall higher quality programming.

Unionized care settings have better staff retention, better quality programming and better working conditions including 30 per cent higher wages, said Moist. This is a win-win-win for kids, parents and not least for the workers themselves, most of whom are women who struggle with being underpaid for their labour and undervalued for their work.

The study, the first of its kind in six years, was produced by the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council, an arms length body mandated by the federal government to monitor child care working conditions.

Lets create a plan that will respond to a surge in demand, Moist said. Lets anticipate this demand and build on Quebecs lead, hire more workers, and improve working conditions.

CUPE, Canadas largest union, represents about 5,000 front-line child care workers across the country.


To arrange interviews with front-line child care workers, contact: David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell (613) 878-1431

For comment, contact: Paul Moist, National President, cell (613) 558-2873; Claude Gnreux, National Secretary-Treasurer (porte-parole francophone), cell (613) 794-8395