We are early childhood educators, cooks, cleaners, clerical and administrative staff, co-ordinators, home visitors, resource teachers and integration advisors, teachers and supervisors and bus attendants working in specialized preschool settings. We are the front line workers.
Together we are the union. We work in community-based child care and parent-staff co-operative programs in Eastern Ontario. We currently represent 300 staff employed in 13 different child care agencies.
At CUPE Local 2204, we’re one of the more than 2000 locals of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canada’s largest union. Nation-wide CUPE represents more than 500,000 public sector clerical, technical, blue collar, and professional workers, employed throughout Canada by airline services, the CBC, hospitals, libraries, municipalities, nursing homes, public utility commissions, school boards, social service and child care agencies, and universities.
CUPE National’s many departments – Research, Communications, Equal Opportunities, Education, Health and Safety, Job Evaluation, Legal and Legislation, Organizing and Servicing – are staffed by persons with skills that provide our locals with the resources to be more effective.
Having a union has been an effective vehicle for achieving significantly improved salaries and benefits. In addition, it has provided us with an effective voice in the workplace and in the larger child care community. We have worked with our parents, Boards of Directors and local and provincial organizations in our struggle to achieve a high quality, universally accessible not for profit child care system. We, as a union, remain committed to this goal. It is not unusual that unions have led the way for advances in the broader community and this was certainly our experience in Ottawa. In 1986, the union advanced the issue of pensions for child care employees. After another vigorous political campaign, many child care staff now have access to a retirement plan.