Child care workers join those demanding higher pay - KCTV5

Child care workers join those demanding higher pay

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

If you're a parent, you know how expensive good child care is.

Child care workers are joining in with fast food workers organizing to push for more pay. They call it Fight for 15, demanding a $15 an hour wage.

Child care workers met Tuesday night at a building at East 31st Street and Broadway Boulevard. The presenter said the last hearing brought 10 people. Tuesday night’s brought in roughly 80, many bearing shirts that read “Fighting for 15.”

At Ubuntu Academy at East 44th Street and Troost Avenue, the focus goes beyond day care to include pre-school education. Several of kids' parents qualify for federal child care subsidies and owner Anita Harvey said it's not nearly enough to pay her staff, or even herself, the minimum she thinks they deserve.

"Even at that $15 an hour, we are only talking about $2,400 a month and most of us can't make it off of $2,400 a month when you're talking about paying for your mortgage, paying your rent or even a car payment," Harvey said.

She was among dozens to fill the room and spill into the halls at a hearing about the latest state standards for income-based subsidies for parents seeking child care.

The latest federal data, from 2012, shows a median hourly rate for child care workers at $9.38 an hour. Compare that to $16.71 as the median for all job categories in the U.S.

The group speaking wants the government to require an hourly wage of $15 for any center receiving federal dollars and provide the increased funding to make that affordable for parents.

Jessica Rousseau is not low-income and still spends about a third of her income on daycare for her one-year-old, so she has an idea of the bind parents with lesser means are in.

"You can either work to pay for your child to be at daycare or you can stay at home and not work and figure out how to pay other bills," she said.

Rousseau said she’d love to see her daughter’s car givers paid more, even if it means she’d have to pay more.

"...to know that they are not concerned about having to leave here and go to their second job and work late so that they are sleep deprived and worried about their bills," she said.

The organizers did not have an estimated dollar amount of what it would cost in federal tax dollars to implement their plan.

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