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Community Q&A.finaL

Community Q&A.finaL

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Published by Tiffany Silliman
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Published by: Tiffany Silliman on Mar 15, 2012
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 A different type of union for early childhood educators.
 
The care and education of our youngest children is essential to Vermonts future, and is a measure of a thriving community.Learn here how your communitys early childhood educators are coming together to raise the quality of care that childrenreceive and advance their profession.
Frequently Asked Questions about Early Educators Forming a Union
Q: What is Vermont Early Educators United-AFT?
VEEU-AFT is the statewide early educators union, which thousands of early educators have chosen to join. It is a memberunion of the United Professions of Vermont (UPV), affiliated with the 1.4 million members of the American Federation of Teachers. Early Educators in Vermont are choosing VEEU to join other union professionals in Vermont such as nurses, hospitalworkers, and university/college faculty and staff to have a stronger voice in the decisions that affect the early educationsystem and their profession.
Q. Why are early childhood educators looking to unionize?
When it comes to improving the direct care and education of our youngest citizens, there is no better voice and expertise thanof those who do this work every day. By coming together in their union, early childhood educators have the opportunity tostrengthen their voice, participate in a democratic organization, and win the right to have a meaningful say in the decisionsthat affect their work.Engaging early childhood educators through collective bargaining is a proven solution that has been shown to expand accessto child care for moderate and low income families, increase child care quality and raise wages for early childhood educators.Limited collective bargaining with the state over specific subjects, such as subsidy rates and professional development, wouldbring early childhood educators to the table and give them a voice in the decisions over subsidy rates, subsidy eligibility,training requirements, classroom resource support, etc.
Q. How is an early educators union different than a traditional union?
An early educators union
is
different than a traditional labor union. Its not a union in which an employer on one side and theemployees on the other side negotiate against one another. Instead, an early educators union unites all types of earlyeducators: home-based early childhood educators, child care center directors, center teachers, assistants, and aides, to build astrong collective voice.All early childhood educators, regardless of where they work, are regulated by the states Department of Children andFamilies, and most have a financial relationship with the state because they care for children and families who qualify forassistance under the Child Care Subsidy Program. By forming a union, these professionals would be able to join together witha collective voice to negotiate a binding contract with the Child Development Division.
Q. Why does the legislature have to pass a law before early educators are able to form a union?
Currently, state and federal laws do not allow early childhood educators to form a union or negotiate with a state agency thatregulates them. Legislation must be passed into law- by establishing an anti-trust exemption for early childhood educators.This gives early childhood educators the freedom to form a union. The legislation being considered, H.97, does not forceanyone to join the union, but simply allows the workforce to decide on their own through a democratic process governed bythe Vermont Labor Relations Board.

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