JUNEAU – Child care providers got a step closer to being able to organize and collectively bargain today after Rep. Zack Fields’ legislation passed the House of Representatives yesterday. House Bill 149 strengthens the child care sector by establishing a child care trust fund while enabling sectoral bargaining, which will result in better recruitment, retainment, and job training that leads to higher quality child care and safety.
“Insufficient childcare is one of the driving factors in labor shortage in Alaska,” said Representative Zack Fields (D-Anchorage). “The lack of childcare options are forcing parents out of the workforce- that’s not good for children, it’s not good for businesses, and it’s not good for Alaska. This legislation will help Alaska fully rebound from the pandemic.”
“Affordable quality childcare is critical to our communities and families,” said Representative Andi Story (D-Juneau). “Without it, parents can’t work. This legislation provides the tools so people caring for our young children can make a decent living and continue working in the field they love. Experienced childcare staff means better childcare, helping prepare our children for school and setting them up for success down the road.”
Child care providers and advocates endorsing the bill include Southeast Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children, thread, Petersburg Children’s Center, Candi’s Tot Stop, Reach Incorporated, Children’s Bilingual Montessori, Bright Beginnings Early Learning Center, Little Moon Child Care, and Hillcrest Children’s Center.