Family child care provider Rosa Carreño of San Jose, California spent time recently with Senator Elizabeth Warren as part of SEIU’s Walk A Day program, which calls on all presidential candidates to experience a day in our shoes and see our struggles firsthand.
Rosa takes care of children in her home ranging anywhere in age from six weeks to 14 years. She knew welcoming Senator Warren into her home would be a huge opportunity. This was her chance to speak up for those of us who work for a living, to share the challenges we all face.
She was especially excited to share what it was like for her and thousands of fellow child care providers in California to fight for their right to unionize and to persist year after year. Just this past October, after 16 years of unyielding determination, they succeeded when the governor signed a law granting 40,000 California providers the legal right to come together in a union to win living wages, benefits and respect at work.
This workforce of mostly women of color, isolated in their own day care centers earning poverty wages, will finally be able to fully provide for themselves—and care for each other—so they can continue to serve the children and families they love to care for.
Recalling a conversation from many years ago, Rosa says, “I will never forget the frustration that I felt when parents were hit with new requirements, and the agency director dismissed my concerns and said, ‘What are you going to do? You are just a simple provider.'”
Today, Rosa is ready to help craft providers’ first union contract. She couldn’t wait to personally share this historic win with Senator Warren—relaying what can happen when working people come together and elected officials stand with us.