More than 13,000 in-home daycare providers in Iowa hope to follow the lead of their counterparts in Illinois, who have organized to get better wages, health care and incentives for training.
"To attract good folks and to keep good folks in child care we need to have improved rate reimbursement, some health care benefits and a voice in regulations," Kim Smith, 50, of Marshalltown, said Thursday as the children she was caring for napped nearby. Smith has been a child care worker for 28 years.
The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, has asked Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to issue an executive order allowing child care providers to organize and begin collective bargaining. Vilsack spokeswoman Jennifer Mullin said, "These folks will be able to have a voice ... and they can learn from each other," she said.
Smith said she works more than 75 hours per week for pay of about $6 an hour.