Long has it been the plan for Liberals and I believe the NDP to have a national childcare program similar or the same-as Quebec's - $7 a day! Woo! Who wouldn't want that? Some places are paying well over a thousand bucks a month for childcare and let's face it, that is painful on the pocket book and keeps many families on lower income because it is not financially viable for one to take a lower paying job (for example, the mom) and then fork over most of her cheque to the daycare each month. I am not stupid - I see how this seems very good. Full time workers may only pay $140 a month! Wow. That is freaking fantastic. I am a mother of three as well as a long-time daycare worker so believe me, I understand. I did not work for awhile when my second child was born because I did not see the point of working 22 days a month for only $400 profit after daycare fees. What kind of an idiot would I be to leave my children in someone else's care and barely make any profit from it? so $140 each per month sounds a million times better.
Or does it. I have spoken about this on my blog for quite awhile now and today I discovered an interesting news article to support my thoughts. Before I share that though, let's go over my worries. First off, what the heck would my wages be? If the center (mine, with 20 children) was only taking in about $3000 a month on average (tops, by the way), that would only pay for one staffer's wages. The rest would be coming from the government (by which of course I mean tax payers)..... so what would my wage be? I have not seen any plans showing how much workers pay scales would be at all. I have no idea. Would it be more or less than I get now? What would the raise program be like? Would there be benefit programs as well? I don't want one. I have 100% coverage with my partner's program so I don't want to be paying into another benefit program that I won't even use (cos what could I use it for?? We are covered 100% in everything you could imagine right now). Anyhoooo, I have spoken my concerns in that regard as well as who would be covering operating costs of the center? Today our extra-space's furnace broke and my boss has to get it fixed asap because it's kinda winter and kinda cold and we cannot take the kids to the Wake Up room during nap time until it is fixed. If we were under this public daycare program, how would that work exactly? The center would have absolutely no profits so who would be paying to fix it? What if we needed new tables, or wanted to buy new activities and craft supplies? Who would be paying for that? Not the parents, there is no profit from what they are paying. I guess we could keep the 3 grand or so a month for operating costs, license fees, professional development courses,fixit jobs, etc and get the entire wage list from the govt...oh but then there are book keeping fees, tax filing fees, utility charges, insurance for liability and injuries and fire/building damage each month, first aid course fees, police record check fees, meals snacks and drinks, craft and activity supplies needed daily, field trip costs, bus rentals, etc etc etc... who pays all that? so I'm a little confused.
And then I had the worry that the whole thing would become unionized and I do not want to be part of a union. But if we all fell under the same roof and had to become a public center, I would have no choice. And that is what brings me to today's news - daycares across Quebec striking for the second time this week. On Monday I read it was over 100 centers on strike that day. Today says 300 centers will be striking tomorrow (Friday). Holy crap. So here we are - all happy and thrilled with $140/month daycare across the country, no matter your earnings, and BOOM - the center is closed with one day's notice for a strike. SURPRISE.
Apparently the workers have been 'without a contract' for 2 years despite a couple dozen meetings. Oh wow. What a shock. The govt coffers are not paying enough wages or not giving a strong enough benefit program, not improving working conditions. No! You don't say! that's just not possible.
Is that what we really want? 8000 families in Quebec are struggling to find somewhere to put their kids tomorrow so they can go to work? If this was Canada-wide and zip-zam-pow we all went on strike, how many hundreds of thousands of families would be freaking out right at this moment? They can risk being fired, laid-off, miss out on a raise,lose wages, get given the dirty work boring jobs, demoted, etc if they don't show up on such short notice. Is that what we want to do to parents in this feeble economy? I dont care how much it is supposedly growing - people are struggling and piling up debt to pay for normal every day costs let alone luxuries and now we want to pile everyone into this program to be fair and civil and what's happening? The workers are striking.
We talked about this at work today and decided we would all rather be Scabs. And that would be okay because there are only 5 of us and we would choose to remain open and would not be throwing tomatoes at each other. But if staff at other centers got wind of our dastardly plan, we could very well find them standing outside the center ready to scream at us for daring to do our jobs and trying to keep other families employed in their jobs. Oh the joys. Let's sign me up for this program now. It looks so tantalizing.