About two hundred day care workers staged a one-day strike in Philadelphia and came to City Hall calling for higher wages. The “Day Without Child Care” protest was designed to show the pay disparities between child care workers and others whose wages have been going up since the pandemic.
Laverne Cheesborough of Heavenly Made Creations, a facility at 73rd and Passayunk, said she is constantly fighting to keep workers from leaving for better-paying positions.
“All of the fast-food chains, they are paying their employees $15, $16, $17 an hour. We should not be working under wages of $10, $11, $12 an hour. We should not be working under wages like that,” she said.
Chanel Hunter is a fourth-generation child care provider who is not sure she wants her children to continue the family tradition.
“I do not want to start a fifth generation giving it to my daughters, putting them into an industry of poverty,” she said. “Child care providers need to make a thriving wage. We need money to support our families. We’re providing services to the neediest children, but we can’t provide for our own children.”
Isis Brooks complained about the disparity between professional athletes and teachers. She believed it was wrong that the people helping others learn the skills to make millions of dollars in the workforce were unfairly compensated.
Several state lawmakers spoke out at the rally, saying there is money in the state budget to fund for pay increases for preschool workers, but there isn’t a will to spend the money on the issue.
Donna Cooper, who heads up Children First, the region’s leading child advocacy organization, told those at the rally this must be just the first in a series of informational rallies focused on this issue. She urged those in attendance to seek out members of the state House and Senate to make sure their message gets across and that politicians vote yes to increase worker wages.
“Let’s make sure we’re working to make sure every ‘no’ vote doesn’t return to Harrisburg or Washington,” Cooper said.