Surrounded by family child care providers and children, Governor John E. Baldacci on May 14 ceremonially signed our child care legislation, L.D. 2095, "An Act To Ensure the Freedom of Family Child Care Providers To Jointly Negotiate with the State." The legislation enables family child care providers to collectively negotiate with the state.
"Maine family child care providers fulfill an important role, and are invaluable to thousands of families across this State," said Governor Baldacci. "The 2,200 family child care providers care for 17,000 children. They provide care in their homes, enabling parents to work and have the comfort of knowing that their children are well cared for."
The Governor said that these caregivers, as small businesspeople, have to comply with a large number of rules and regulations, including those for safety, training and education. "We expect a lot from these dedicated individuals. It's a hard job, but when I talk to these providers I know they love what they do - they love the children they care for," said Governor Baldacci. "I am happy to sign this legislation to give a voice to this very important group of caregivers."
The Governor recognized House Speaker Glenn Cummings, sponsor of the bill, for his leadership in addressing this issue.
Last fall, these home based child care providers in Maine voted overwhelmingly to form a union with the Maine State Employees Association, SEIU Local 1989. Congratulations to these workers for gaining a voice in their wages, benefits and working conditions.