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Mount Vernon Rally for Child Care

The Westchester County community continued the fight against childcare subsidy cuts by rallying in Mount Vernon on Saturday, June 26, 2010. The Westchester County Executive is proposing $1.5 million in cuts and changes to day care programs including ending the scholarship program, ending new Title XX subsidies, and increasing the family fee for subsidized childcare from 15% to 20%. These subsidies are important to working families and the providers who care for their children every day: To ensure the continued safety and well being of our future generation.

 See photos from the Rally

Governor SIGNS A.8827A/S.3895B – OCFS Issues Guidance on Implementation

Governor Paterson signed A.8827A/S.3895B on Wednesday, June 16. Since the late 1990’s, home-based child care providers across New York have been working to secure the changes to ratios that are included in this bill. We made securing ratio changes a top priority when we sat down to negotiate with OCFS. Finally, the Bill that enables OCFS to implement the changes we negotiated has been passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor. Our e-mails, phone calls, the on-going work of our CSEA lobbyists in Albany and our focused persistence in the face of the challenges were the combined ingredients of our success.

OCFS has developed a plan to implement the provisions on ratios and licensing renewal. The OCFS implementation plan was designed to balance the agency’s mandates to both roll-out the new provisions in the law across the State while ensuring health, safety and quality standards.

Read OCFS Letter and Bill Summary for information about how the Bill’s provisions on ratios and licensing renewal will be implemented. OCFS will mail a letter to all Registered Family and Licensed Group Family Providers. DO NOT ENROLL additional children beyond existing ratios before reading the OCFS Guidance on implementation of these new provisions. To maintain compliance with OCFS regulations, registered family and licensed Group Family providers must follow OCFS guidelines and directives.

For more information, contact VOICE at voice@cseainc.org.

VOICE/CSEA Negotiating Team

Kim Bannister Lenora Peterson
Sally Heater Damaris Samolinski
Patrick Hogan Cathey Sandman
Stacy Hoyt Roxanne Savage
Dasie Lockett-Todd Janet Turner
Rose McCabe Pamela Wells
Charlese Mc Clain Emilia White
Fran Nantista Kittrell Whitlock
Wendy Nashid-Jackson Katherine Williams
Cheryl Oare Amy Yencer

 Read OCFS Letter and Bill Summary
 Visit the OCFS Website

Cuts to Child Care Subsidy Thwart More Job Seekers

 Read New York Times Article

Westchester Rally 4 Kids
Westchester Rally
VOICE/CSEA Family Child Care Providers, Maria Felix and Dionysia Clovis, both from Mount Vernon in Westchester County joined hundreds of fellow child care advocates at the "Rally 4 kids" last week in downtown White Plains. Organized by a coalition of Westchester child care groups including VOICE/CSEA, they stood with other VOICE members to demonstrate that children and youth are still a priority for Westchester, even during tough times. Recent cuts to children’s services in Westchester County have threatened both the foundation for early learning and parents’ ability to work and earn a living. Child care subsidies and children’s services are important to Westchester’s working families, children and the providers who serve them every day.

See Photo Gallery of the Rally

Provider Appreciation DayVOICE and OCFS Celebrate National Provider Appreciation Day

Bill Gettman, Executive Deputy Commissioner and Janice Molnar, Deputy Commissioner of Child Care visited Christine Kresloff's Albany County Group Family Child Care Program to deliver Governor David Paterson’s Provider Appreciation Day Proclamation. Christine was joined by fellow VOICE members Pam Wells (Washington County) and Wendy Nashid-Jackson (Westchester County).

The Governor's proclamation designated May 7th as Provider Appreciation Day "in order to acknowledge and express gratitude to child care providers, teachers, and educators of young children and to commend the selfless dedication, commitment and compassion they demonstrate each and every day." Celebrated nationally each year on the Friday before Mother's Day, Provider Appreciation Day was launched in New Jersey in 1996.

View Slideshow
Read the Proclamation

Provider Appreciation Day Provider Appreciation Day Provider Appreciation Day

VOICE/CSEA members waiting to see VOICE/CSEA leader.

VOICE/CSEA fights child care program cuts in Westchester County

VOICE/CSEA members took action at the Westchester Board of Legislators meeting in April urging leaders to support child care programs that help families work. VOICE/CSEA is working with a coalition of Westchester Child Care Groups to protect child care subsidies for working familes.

VOICE/CSEA Onondaga County Providers receive honor at FCCANYS conference

At the 19th Annual Family Child Care Association of New York State Conference held in Lake George recently, VOICE/CSEA Onondaga County providers brought home the banner for having the highest number of attendees. The award is given each year to the County with the greatest number of conference participants.

Seen here receiving the honor are VOICE members: Martha Clemons, Cassandra and Norris Stanfield, Vera and Arthur Hines, Valerie Morris, Charlese Davis, Gloria J. Blatche and Lottie W. Appleton and two other Onondaga providers Marlene Haven and Rosemary Walker.

Update: VOICE continues the fight to restore Erie County subsidies

On Tuesday, March 23, VOICE/CSEA joined with the YWCA of Western New York (WNY), the WNY Women's Bar Association, the WNY Women's Fund, the EveryWoman Opportunity Center, the League of Women Voters and over 250 individual women leaders to announce signing the "Women's Leaders Statement."

The statement crirticizes the direction of the Collins administration and its many decisions which damage the health and well-being of women and children. It also calls on County Executive Collins to restore day care subsidies for 90 days while working with Senator Gillibrand's office to secure federal stimulus funds for the program.

VOICE/CSEA spoke on the importance of restoring the subsidies for families and providers.
Read the Women's Statement
Read VOICE/CSEA testimony

VOICE/CSEA members rally outside of Erie County's Rath Building Tuesday to fight against drastic cuts in child care subsidies for working families. Click on image for a larger view.

VOICE/CSEA members join coalition to rally against child care subsidy cuts in Buffalo
On Tuesday, Feb. 9, VOICE/CSEA joined with Voice-Buffalo, a coalition of faith-based organizations and the YWCA's of Erie County to a rally to protest drastic cuts in child care subsidies for working families.
Over 900 families with 1,500 children are impacted by these subsidy cuts. Many child care providers may also be forced to close or to lay off employees.
VOICE/CSEA activist Benita Whitlock, center, along with a child to whom she provides day care, rally against subsidy cuts in Buffalo. Click on image for a larger view.
A 90-day moratorium, already endorsed by the County Legislature. has been proposed to the County Executive. The Erie County Comptroller has argued the cuts are not necessary. The moratorium would allow time for more investigation and the development of solutions while allowing the parents and children to still have access to safe, affordable care.
150 providers, parents and community members attended the rally.

CSEA officers and VOICE activists celebrate the new VOICE contract. Click on image for a larger view.

VOICE Members VOTE YES to Ratify First Agreement
On February 8th, VOICE members gathered in Albany, Syracuse, Long Island and Buffalo to count ballots. Members voted nearly unanimously to ratify this first historic VOICE agreement. Moving forward, we will work with our members, OCFS and the Department of Health to roll out our program grants, professional development fund and Family Health Plus Expanded Eligibility Plan. We'll set up a VOICE/CCPT Member Resource Center and establish 25 VOICE Chapters across the state.
In the next month, we'll join activists across the country to advocate for the $1.6 billion increase in the Child Care Development Block Grant that the President proposed in his budget. NYS needs this money to help fill our child care budget gap. We'll also mobilize support for two bills - S. 4479, introduced by Senator Gillibrand, and H.R. 4402, introduced by Rep. Tonko. These bills call for improvements in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, raise reimbursements, reimburse an additional meal, expand eligibility for Tier 1 rates, and simplify paperwork.

Read Our Union Contract Summary
Lea nuestro resumen en español Contrato de Unión

CSEA Commends U.S. Rep. Tonko for Nutrition Bill
Legislation to Reduce Child Obesity, Improve Health, and Enhance Development
ALBANY - U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko has introduced the Access to Nutritious Meals for Young Children Act of 2009 to update the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) by adding additional resources to pay for healthier meals and expanding the program to include more children. CACFP provides healthy, nutritious meals to 3 million children each day who are in Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care programs in both centers and family child care homes.

"Proper nutrition is essential not only to a child's physical growth, but their intellectual growth as well," said CSEA President Danny Donohue. On behalf of the 25,000 child care providers who recently formed a union with CSEA, we applaud Rep. Tonko for his help in improving young children's access to healthy foods in child care."

Healthy eating and good nutrition are critically important for all children and particularly important for children from infancy to age 5 as their brains are rapidly developing. This is also a key time to set health eating patterns. As our country faces a childhood obesity epidemic of 30%, CACFP plays an important role in educating children, families, and child care providers about healthy nutrition and providing resources for at-risk children to eat healthy meals.

Family child care provider and VOICE/CSEA member Doreen Lawson of Kingston also commented on the bill: "With parents being rushed, they are relieved to know that their child will get a healthy meal at my day care. The children are developing good eating habits because of my participation in the food program. I have been able to attend great workshops put on by my local child care council and I have even received some great recipes from them!"

The program rates, however, have not kept up with the rising costs of food and increasing costs from revisions in the Dietary Guidelines.

A.8827 passed the Assembly unanimously! The bill introduced by OCFS (based on items agreed to with the State in our contract negotiations - and supported by VOICE/CSEA) would extend our licensing and renewal period and improve ratio requirements. Record numbers of e-mails from VOICE providers and messages sent from the VOICE website were critical to this effort.

This Bill Explained/ Extended VOICE/CSEA talking points

VOICE/CSEA Joins the Public Fight for Health Care Reform.
VOICE/CSEA activist Damaris Samolinski, far right, addresses a health care rally on Long Island. VOICE/CSEA member Luisa Lucero also addressed the rally. Click on image for a larger view.

Negotiating team member Damaris Samolinski, Suffolk County, Long Island (LI), recently spoke to a Long Island Business News Reporter about the importance of health care reform. This comes on the heels of a recent health care rally where CSEA and VOICE spoke out to the community and influential lawmakers about the need for this crucial reform. Both VOICE/CSEA's Luisa Lucero and Damaris Samolinski gave testimony at the rally. READ THE STORY.

Albany VOICE Provider, Joanna Zwink honors and remembers community icon, friend and union organizer

Zwink held a fundraiser to benefit Shriner's Hospital Burn Unit at "Grow With Me Daycare" in honor of Michael Romano Sr., a pillar in the community and dear friend of her childcare.

Romano founded Albany's firefighters union in 1969 when he began organizing firefighters and was elected the first president after much hard work and a tough fight much like our very own union.

"He was a great man. He was always giving of himself. He was great with the kids at my daycare too. Before he passed, he would walk with us in the neighborhood and the kids just adored him," said Joanna.

Last year, the Times Union, daily newspaper in Albany wrote of Romano:

"The former battalion chief founded Albany's firefighters union. He began organizing firefighters in 1969. By 1970, the Albany Professional Permanent Firefighters Association was formed, with Romano elected the first president. But recognition from the city was not forthcoming; the Erastus Corning 2nd-Dan O'Connell regime fought the unionization efforts, and Romano and other organizers were reassigned and harassed.

"Mike and the other charter members that were with him put their jobs on the line to form the union, and knew they would be targeted, but did it anyway," said Sam Fresina, the current union president. "I would say all of us owe him and all of our charter members a lot of gratitude."

Romano's son said he can remember a period of threats, and his father telling him he would not be deterred. "He loved the city of Albany and he loved the fire department," the younger Romano said. "The younger guys don't realize what he fought for. What they have -- protections, vacation, medical -- came from unions."

The fundraiser was a success, with many parents, friends and neighbors of "Grow With Me Daycare" stopping in to purchase baked goods and artwork made from the children's fingerprints, contributing to Shriner's Hospital and honoring a great union leader and community member.
See Times Union clip from Saturday July 25,2009
See Photos from the fundraiser

Being Politically Active
Kelly DeGrace, active VOICE member and President of President of The Family Daycare Association of Oneida County (FDCAOC) recently invited Assmblymember RoAnn Destito-D (NYS Dist. 116, Utica) to her family child care home.

"This is beautiful!" Destito said. "I think this is wonderful that there is this kind of care in the city of Utica. We need to make sure that providers can continue to care for their own while caring for others and make a viable business out of it. I am so pleased to be here. I am going to use Kelly as a resource when it comes to childcare legislation. One thing I didn't realize was how organized you are as an organization. This is wonderful, it really is."

They spoke about the need for child care in Assemblymember Destito's district - especially the waiting list for infants and need for non-traditional hours and weekend care.

"I appreciate the fact that she took the time to come here," said Kelly. "When I first spoke to her she said she hadn't been to a group daycare home and I wanted her to see what it was like. We have common goals. I hope that this will influence the decisions that she makes about family child care in the Assembly. I was very pleased to see her enthusiasm and concern." See Photos

Ulster County Providers Meet For June Contract Update.Kingston Area Providers packed Jane Alsdorf's Child Care on Saturday morning to hear the latest on our VOICE/CSEA contract updates. The providers discussed at length, the ratio/renewal legislation which was very recently reintroduced to the Senate, Providers Bill of Rights, a grievance process, the changes to the OCFS website which recently went into effect benefiting providers, the Quality Stars Rating Improvement System and what that means for providers, insurance, new Ulster County challenges including making VOICE meetings better accessible to providers who live on outlying areas of the County and recent troubles with fire inspections. See photos.

Livingston County VOICE showing pride with parade float. Photos and read more...

Monroe County Committee meets to discuss issues. See photos from the Monroe County VOICE Committee meeting held April 25, 2009. Members discussed Monroe County issues including DSS concerns, subsidies and upcoming collective actions at their monthly meeting. Photos

Improving visibility for Family Child Care Providers Albany County Providers Loretta and Craig MacKenzie recently opened their Group Family Child Care to WMHT cameras to tape for the "Provider Tip of the Month" which is airing June-October on the Capital Region PBS station, WMHT-TV. Pam Wells of Washington County taped her segment at the WMHT studios in late April and Sheila Long of Schenectady opened up her daycare for all to see in late May as well. The 15 second "Provider Tips for Parents" give a glimpse into Family Child Care and the commitment and knowledge of VOICE Providers. See photos from the TV shoot.

VOICE negotiating team meets via video conference technology at CSEA headquarters in Albany and at the regional office in Buffalo.Isn't technology wonderful? CSEA's video conferencing capabilities were used earlier this month as the negotiating team discussed the contract proposal. We are one step closer to an agreement with OCFS thanks to our dedicated team and a little technology.

Click on image for a larger view.

WMHT/PBS Ready to Learn Partnership continues to build in Capital Region Nearly twenty VOICE providers attended a "train the trainer" workshop given by the Capital Region PBS station WMHT-TV and Capital Region VOICE to learn how to teach the "View, Read Do" method of learning to VOICE providers for their programs. The goal of this pilot partnership is that eventually, the trained providers could teach the workshop concepts to all VOICE members in the Capital Region and beyond, enhancing learning and ensuring all children enter school "Ready to Learn".

***For Capital Region VOICE members within the WMHT viewing area***: Check out WMHT programming M-F 6a.m-5p.m, Sat 6a.m.-8:30a.m. and Sun 7-9a.m. to see our very own negotiating team member Pam Wells deliver a "Child Care Tip of the Month" for viewers. The spots will run beginning in March through the summer featuring different VOICE providers. A VOICE/CSEA underwriting credit will also be shown during the above listed times as well, featuring some of our members.
  • See photos from the workshop

  • A new approach to children and TV

  • Read more about Ready to Learn

  • President Obama's economic stimulus package has been signed into law. According to reports, the $789 billion plan includes a $2 billion block grant for childcare assistance of which, $98.6 million will be on it's way to New York.
    This funding for childcare would allow the state to provide childcare assistance to hundreds of thousands of children in low-income working families hit hard by the economic crisis and create work for nearly 200,000 providers.

    Nearly 100 providers came together in Sufffolk to fight Subsidy Cuts.

    We shared our stories and asked questions of a panel of local Legislators who accepted VOICE/CSEA's invitation for the talk including the DSS Commissioner of Suffolk County who explained the recent economic crisis. They listened to heartwrenching accounts from the front lines. We were successful because the Commissioner did say that they will work to restore at least $1M of the funding deficit and discussed other needed changes.

    Union Women Building a Better Future"
    VOICE members Roxanne Savage and Damaris Samolinski attended the CSEA Women's Conference: Union Women Building a Better Future. More than 500 CSEA members and activists attended the union's Women's Conference in Hauppauge (Long Island) over the November, 2008 weekend.

    VOICE Childcare Crisis Rally Draws Nearly 200 people. Monroe County providers have been working hard to fight funding cuts displacing 1,100 familes from childcare/>SEE RALLY PHOTOS

    A Step in the right direction in Suffolk
    VOICE provider and negotiating team member, Damaris Samolinski and Long Island Region CSEA President, Nick LaMorte delivered a childcare petition with over 600 names signed in protest of the subsidy funding cuts from Suffolk County to County Legislator Kate Browning. The signatures were collected by Suffolk County VOICE members and represent providers, parents and the community support for a hearing to be held to investigate the roll over. Legislator Browning said she would look into why the county decided to stop all new subsidy cases. In the mean time she encouraged VOICE to seek out other county legislators to inform them about what is happening as well.

    DSS meetings catch on around state

    Cattaraugus County Providers are the latest to report that they are planning a meeting with DSS too. Child Care Providers met to discuss issues and decided to draft a letter for a meeting request and began planning the agenda.
    Meeting was hosted by Jane Ingenito-Cooper.

    Orleans County Providers strategize for a meeting with DSS to discuss provider concerns.Providers in the Albion, NY area, Orleans County, attended a planning meeting Monday, August 11 to decide whether they wanted to have a meeting with DSS of their own to discuss Orleans County concerns. The vote was unanimous among the twelve who attended to pursue the meeting and begin work on the agenda together right away.
    Debbie Sanders, Provider Orleans County, opened up her daycare activity room after hours to host the meeting.

    VOICE attends and participates in the National Association for Family Child Care 18th Annual Conference titled: Family Child Care Challenge for Excellence. VOICE/CSEA joined our sister AFSCME child care affiliates from around the country in a workshop called, Unions and Associations "Working together to make a difference." We all shared information with other childcare providers about how we have worked with family childcare associations and early childhood advocates to support child care through our union and offered conference goers' information and expert advice on how to get active in improving quality in the child care field. See photos from the conference in Chicago, Illinois.
    Photo credit: Patrick, Hogan, Provider Westchester County.

    Protecting Yourself and Your Business: Insurance for Family and Group Family Child Care Providers. VOICE/CSEA strongly urges ALL Family and Group Family Child Care Providers to attend videoconference Monday, September 8, 2008 6:45 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. Find dozens of locations in each region throughout the state. If you have never attended a video conference before, you can learn step- by-step, how to register here: Registration Form Site Locations Why is this particular videoconference so important to attend? The videoconference will be a platform by which the state will survey us about our insurances. This is a great sign that the state is listening to us in our negotiations and is now investigating our needs with regard to all types of insurances. We need to give the most accurate and complete picture about our struggles. Our negotiating team Insurance Committee worked with the state to amend the survey to improve its effectiveness. It is VITAL that all providers in NY participate and attend at least to fill out this survey. The training will also offer shorter term solutions; information on protection, how to update your paperwork and tips on keeping up with the business side of child care.

    Warren County Providers meet as first of many focus groups to be held across the state to discuss insurances. Providers enjoyed the beautiful evening at Crandall Park in Queensbury but the discussion was not a walk in the park. Tough questions were asked about insurances; health, homeowners, liability, the lack of, affordability of and challenges providers face with existing state programs. Providers discussed income based qualification requirements,lack of coverage and alternative medical coverage. Information gathered from the insurance focus groups will be reported back to the VOICE Insurance task force, a specialized committee on the negotiating team working with a State task force instructed by the Governor to gather information about Childcare Providers' insurance needs. Our insurance committee has also been given the immediate task of giving feedback on a survey drafted by the State which will eventually be mailed to all providers. Negotiating team members present found the discussions valuable to recommend changes to the survey to ensure its effectiveness. See photos

    VOICE/CSEA attends WMHTReady to Learn Workshop
    Twenty-one VOICE/CSEA members attended a pilot workshop held in Albany called, Ready to Learn. The program was offered as a pilot workshop as part of a recent partnering of CSEA and a local Albany PBS affiliate TV station. See photos Read more about Ready to Learn

    Unspent child care funding:Childcare Subsidy Rollover is Found to be a Statewide Epidemic
    $51 million lost

    See county subsidy rollover amounts (2005-2008) Compare allocations from 2007-2008 to 2008-2009.
    For the last three years many New York State counties failed to distribute millions of dollars intended to help thousands of children and families. We organized in part because late payments from the counties were forcing many great family and group family child care providers out of the business. The problem is epidemic with 47 of the 57 counties outside of New York City having rolled over in excess of $51M from fiscal year 2006-2007 into 2007-2008. This money was specifically given by the state to the counties to be distributed among families in need of childcare assistance. This is unacceptable and irresponsible for the counties entrusted to not pass this money on. TOP OFFENDERS Eleven counties had rollovers in excess of $1M, with Erie and Suffolk Counties at the top of the list at $8M and $6M, respectively, for fiscal year 2007-2008. 1. Albany $2,805,964 2. Cattaraugus $1,329,190 3. Duchess $1,110,129 4. Erie $8,461,727 5. Essex $1,171,390 6. Monroe $5,890,032 7. Niagara $2,825,524 8. Oneida $2,130,134 9. Steuben $1,036,582 10. Suffolk $6,162,240 11. Westchester $5,94,273

    OCFS agrees to modify legislative proposal As a result of VOICE/CSEA members' ongoing work to negotiate a contract with New York State, OCFS agreed to modify their legislative proposal to include several of our requests. Legislation has been introduced, and we need every VOICE member to call Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and your own State Senators and Assembly Members. IF PASSED: Ratios will change to benefit both group family and family providers improving consistency and the number of children who can be cared for. *Ratios will change for Group Family Providers from a maximum of 10 children plus two school-aged (if an infant is enrolled) to 12 children plus four school-aged children (if an infants is enrolled). *Ratios for Family Providers will go from a maximum of five children (if infant is enrolled) to a maximum of six children plus two school-aged children (provided there is sufficient room to care for eight children). *Each Family or Group Family provider (or assistant) can care for 2 infants under this proposal without the loss of any other slots. **The proposal also would change the licensing/registration period from 2 years to 4 years after initial licensing/registration period.** These changes would allow providers across our state to add thousands of children and earn millions in increased income.

    VOICE members finding new radon system requirement tough to deal with Many renewals are delayed due to the new requirement of a $1500-$2000 Radon system installation. Many providers who are having trouble paying for this. There are resources available for financing residential radon mitigation costs. You may qualify for assistance.

    Onondaga County VOICE members work for fair share In May 2008, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney gave county contracted Child Care Centers a 4 percent increase in contracted subsidy rates due to the recent closing of 3 centers in the County. Mahoney gave no increase to Family and Group Family providers. When Child Care Centers close they make news. Family and Group Family providers close all the time and go un-noticed. Because of this, contracted Family and Group Family providers in Onondaga are coming together as a union and signing a petition to ask for the same 4 percent increase that the centers received. Over 80 percent of the contracted Family and Group Family providers in the county have signed the petition and will present the request at the contracted meeting with the County Department of Social Services on Tuesday, June 10 in Syracuse. This is a great example of we can unite as a union and tackle issues in our respective counties.

    VOICE attends important local child care conferences VOICE/CSEA attended the Ulster County Child Care Council's annual conference last weekend, bringing information about our union and our recent victories including news of negotiations with the NYS Office of Children and Family services. VOICE will also be attending the Family Child Care Association of NYS annual conference in Lake George this weekend.

    Monroe County VOICE Providers, elected officials and community supporters delivered a petition to the Monroe County Legislature with 1,700 signatures at a rally to say RESTORE MONROE COUNTY CHILD CARE FUNDING CUTS. Over 125 people attended to protest the cuts.See flyer for action.

    VOICE delivers a petition signed by 600 providers and community members to Suffolk County legislator, Kate Browning.

    Labor Day Parade a time for VOICE pride

    Provider requested DSS meetings catch on around the state.
    Elmira County added to growing list of pioneering DSS meetings

    VOICE negotiating team member welcomes new Gov. David A. Paterson at upstate public address in Rochester

    VOICE negotiating team member, Katherine Williams took her activism to Rochester's Mid-town Plaza Mall to welcome our new Governor at an event where he addressed the Upstate Initiative. Williams, of Monroe County, introduced herself to NY's new Governor as a Monroe County daycare provider and active member of VOICE/CSEA and said, "Welcome. I hope we have a long prosperous relationship." Of the Governor she said,"He was very warm and personable. He seemed so down to earth and I got the feeling he knows the working man." Governor Paterson acknowledged VOICE and its accomplishments and also posed for some photos with three children from her daycare.

    VOICE Negotiations work continuesThe Voice/CSEA negotiations team are continuing to meet and discuss details of a first contract this week. They are very close to a first draft to submit to state officials for a first go-around. They meet next on Thursday to continue this work. Pictured above: Wendy Nashid-Jackson, Westchester County child care provider, speaks out about small business concerns providers have. In the background, Patrick Hogan also of Westchester county and Sally Heater of Onondaga county.

    Voice/CSEA local 100A met for its second negotiating session with the Office of Children and Family Services. A segment of the agenda included an opportunity for Voice to speak out against the OCFS website. The agency asked how VOICE/CSEA would like to see information presented and agreed to research how those changes can be made. Some specific changes discussed were the map which currently provides sex-offenders easy access to daycare locations and how providers are portrayed on the website with regard to inspections results.

    VOICE member,Cathey Sandman from Lockport NY testifies in Washington DC in front of the House Committee on Small Business in a hearing titled, "Limited Health Care Options for Small Businesses in the Small Group Market." Cathey talked about the issues small businesses (childcare providers) face with affording health insurance. She was invited to represent childcare providers and small business owners by the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business.)She spoke of the importance of unions and her current financial hardship dealing with debt associated with rising health costs and not being able to carry insurance for her family. READ MORE

    Voice members speak with Assemblymember Susan John and Assemblymember Brian Kavanaugh at NYS Assembly hearing. Childcare issues remain a top concern as the panel searches for logical solutions and ways they can help Olivia Adams, Schenectady Provider, Janet Turner, Albany Provider and Ethel Hammond of Delaware County recently spoke about neighbors overstepping boundaries, sex offenders living very close to daycares and the need for Voices to be heard to stop turn over in the industry.Read the story



    Erie County provider Kim Bannister adressed the same panel when they were in the western part of the state. She spoke out on whether the State's licensing and or regulation requirements need to be strengthened or relaxed relating to prospective providers going into the field.

    ***VOICE members meet with presidential candidate and New York State Senator Hillary Clinton in Washington D.C*** They met on Capitol Hill to discuss the problems with New York's childcare system. Later in the afternoon they stood by her side along with fellow AFSCME providers from around the country as she announced a plan which includes increasing childcare funding by $200M.Watch the press conference http://www.afscme.org/members/16658.cfm
    Clinton took New York on Super Tuesday by a wide margin, 57% to 40%, giving her a sizable majority of New York's delegates. Senator Clinton also won delegate rich California and Massachussetts.

    Celebrating our Voice Representing VOICE/CSEA, Ed Gresco spoke to an audience of nearly 100 labor leaders and local clergy at the Labor in the Pulpits Holiday Celebration. He spoke about our recent VOICE victory and joined Rev. Alexandra Lusak, Worker Rights Board Member and Labor in the Pulpits Pastor, on the importance of child care unions. He offered thanksgiving and relayed hope to others who are still fighting for their union.

    Child care top of mind for other key politicians around the state. State Assemblywoman Susan John holds hearing for those involved with child care
    --Assemblywoman John discussed industry concerns, especially those of people on fixed incomes. Information was provided and requests made for additional state dollars for child care. John is taking the information back to Albany to see where changes can be made for affordable, high quality child care for all. Read the story from R-News, Rochester.

    In Solidarity,we can and will make the necessary changes to New York's childcare system.

    DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: September-October 2007 Voice Holds Pre-negotiations meetings Throughout the state Voice members packed meeting rooms to discuss which issues are most important to them. These sessions helped to form the basis of top issues to negotiate for during our talks with the State and OCFS. See negotiations updates pages for details.

    Read the story

    VOICE Attracts media attention in the state capital;a key location
    Childcare Providers
    Find A Voice:
    "Union assists its members in bureaucratic struggles with county, state governments."
    August 23, 2007

    Members of Voces Latinas celebrate together on August 2, 2007

    New York State Declares VOICE/CSEA Certified: Historic Certification affects over 7,000 child care workers
    The New York State Employment Relations Board (SERB) certified VOICE/CSEA (Voice of Independent Child Care Educators) as the exclusive bargaining representative for over 7,000 registered family and licensed group family child care providers yesterday, July 23, 2007.
    "We now have the framework for real change in this industry. This is an important day for providers, parents and children," said CSEA President Danny Donohue.
    Read the press release

    VOICE members attend Spring Workshop
    VOICE providers attended the 2007 CSEA Spring Workshop held in Rochester on June 8-10, 2007. They shared tearful stories of accomplishment with an audience of close to 1,000 CSEA members and officers and presented CSEA president, Danny Donohue with a "BIG thank you" card in appreciation.
    View photos

    CSEA/VOICE file for recognition with State Employment Relations Board
    CSEA filed for certification with the New York State Employment Relations Board Tuesday, May 15, 2007 organizing more than 7,000 registered family and licensed group family child care providers.
    Read the press release

    We Did It!
    We are pleased to announce that as of May 8, 2007 Gov. Eliot Spitzer has issued an executive order granting New York state's independent childcare providers the right to join a union.
    VOICE will file with a solid majority of signed providers for recognition from the Employment Relations Board.
    CONGRATULATIONS to all who have worked long and hard to make this possible.