The union representing most unionized child care workers in Nova Scotia is welcoming the province’s new wages for ECE’s, but says most of the wage relief will actually go to the owners of private centres.
CUPE Child Care Co-ordinator Naomi Stewart says, “There is definitely some good news here for ECE’s and the sector, but primarily for the lowest paid employees who tend to be in the for-profit centres.
The union says some of the good news includes:
- A recognition that the Early Childhood Educators are professionals
- Increased training requirements, so that by 2021 all ECE’s will have to have much higher levels of training
- An emphasis on quality education in the early years
- Ongoing consultation with stakeholders
“What is disappointing,” says Stewart, “is that many of the ECE’s in the unionized centres – all of which are non-profit centres – will not benefit nearly as much from the wage increases. New hires will benefit, but the longest serving, most experienced ECE’s will not.”
CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen says, “Any new money going to ECE’s is a good thing and something we’ve been fighting for for decades. But with this new wage model, the McNeil government seems to have let the private operators – who’ve been paying the lowest wages and who put us in this predicament in the first place – off the hook.
“They’ve tied provincial grants to base wage rates, which is good, but they’ve done nothing to move us toward a universal, public child care system which is what needs to happen to fix the ongoing problems with the sector,” says McFadgen.
CUPE says approximately 60% of the child care centres in Nova Scotia are privately-owned and run for profit. CUPE represents ECE’s in six centres in Halifax and in Bridgewater.