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Local Politics

Childcare Workers Negotiate Significant Union Contract

Childcare Workers Negotiate Significant Union Contract
Tyler Russell
/
Connecticut Public
Rochelle Palache speaks at the Connecticut Capitol.

Workers with the childcare nonprofit TEAM, Inc. in the lower Naugatuck Valley have won a new contract. Union SEIU 32BJ negotiated a 5% pay raise for the childcare, food service and janitorial workers.

“Typically the increases they would get are just 1%, so this is significant,” said union vice president Rochelle Palache.

Palache says that workers will also get back pay dated to May, contributions to health care costs and bonuses for staff who complete a master’s degree.

Palache says the relationship with TEAM was not adversarial. But it was the workers, who just went through a pandemic, who organized like never before.“COVID presented an opportunity where these workers realized their own power and found their own power: their own voice,” she said.

TEAM President and CEO David Morgan says the existing contract was supposed to end in 2024 but they ended it early “because we wanted to give more wages to the staff. We’ve been on this journey of trying to professionalize the early childhood arena.”

Morgan acknowledges that although these raises are significant for the field, early child care as a profession has a lot of room for improvement in terms of fair pay.

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