October 28, 2014
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Two of the most influential labor unions in New York are helping to expand early child care and education to more working families, and their efforts are not going unnoticed.
The Center for Children’s Initiative [CCI], the more than 30-year-old family support services non-profit group, recently honored NYSNA’s Jill Furillo and Anne Bové, as well as 1199 SEIU's Neva Shillingford, with the organization’s Institutional Leadership Award for their collective work promoting innovative childcare and eldercare programs.
“We’ve been very fortunate to work very closely with the trade union movement – and with women in the trade union movement – who have made it a priority to help working families meet both their childcare obligations, and support full development of their children,” said Nancy Kolben, CCI executive director.
This past June, both the New York State Nurses Association [NYSNA] and 1199 SEIU Untied Healthcare Workers East successfully negotiated a contract with the city that included the unprecedented establishment of childcare/eldercare funds.
With contributions already begun, NYSNA is currently designing benefits that best meet the diverse needs of their membership.
“What we did for the first time in the history of the city, was to develop a childcare/eldercare fund,” said Jill Furillo, NYSNA, executive director. “And that’s going to [soon] be available to employees. It’s in the implementing stage right now.”
Kolben called the new union funds a “dream come true.”
“We’re very excited this year that NYSNA and 1199SEIU have now taken a major step forward in negotiating a child care and elder care fund, building on the incredible success of the 1199 childcare fund,” the CCI executive director said. “The fund was designed to look at a full range of family needs, from helping families find childcare, to expanding early childcare services in the community, and providing after school services.”
Each of the new labor management funds is being designed with direct input from the rank and file.
“One of the exciting things about the labor management funds, is they’re designed with input from the very people who would end up using those services,” Kolben said. “It doesn’t take one singe approach – but looks at a range of things that will help make childcare affordable at the hours that families need, and that have a variety of services for the youngest children up through school age.”