Turchin: Children and families would benefit from child-care provider union

Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Tammy Turchin, owner and director of Adventures of Young Minds, a child-care center in Colchester.

I am the owner and director for Adventures of Young Minds in Colchester and have worked as a child-care provider for 25 years. Every day, my colleagues and I provide early education services to support children and families. Parents put a lot of trust in us and give us the responsibility to care for, and educate, their children. We set the foundation for a lifetime of learning and social interactions. We help to set the foundation for kindergarten and beyond.

Our primary concern is, and has always been, the children and families we serve.

I support the right to form a union. It is unfortunate that our efforts have been misconstrued and misrepresented. I would like to set the record straight:

• Our primary concern is, and has always been, the children and families we serve.

• Forming a union will not in any way detract from the services we provide; on the contrary, it will improve our services.

• Child-care providers are the experts in this field; joining together to express our collective voices is the best way to share our knowledge about early education.

• There are no more qualified people than child-care providers to be at the table with the state when early education issues are being decided and implemented.

• We have a 40 percent turnover rate in our profession; we must develop policies to lower that number so that we can attract and retain a qualified and stable workforce.

Our efforts to organize over the past few years have already built committees of early educators in every county across Vermont. We have held over 200 informational meetings in over 73 towns and over 30 trainings for professional development across the state. All of this has served to strengthen our industry.

Children and families need stability in the early education industry. A union will give us the tools to speak with one voice. It will allow us to grow, flourish and deliver even more to Vermont families. We will be able to come together to further support each other, train each other, and build confidence in our own futures – all with the goal of improving the quality of child care in Vermont.

Forming a union is just common sense, and common sense makes the best kind of policy.

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