Governor Newsom Signs AB 378 Giving Home-Based Childcare Workers the Right to Organize!

Approximately 40,000 Californians earn a living by providing home-based childcare to families in their communities.  These individuals provide a crucial service to working parents and their children by offering stable, professional, and flexible community-based early childcare.  Until recently, such home-based childcare providers, who are licensed by the state, were denied the right to unionize on the basis that they weren’t really “employees.”

On September 30, 2019, after decades of organizing by early childhood educators and care providers, California finally passed AB 378 —The Building a Better Early Care and Education System Act.  The law allows home-based childcare providers to organize a union and bargain collectively to improve their working conditions and the home-based childcare system in general.  Now, these childcare providers have the right to select a collective bargaining representative through an election process, which the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) will oversee.  The collective bargaining representative will bargain with the state, which is significant because the state sets the rates that childcare providers are paid, as well as other conditions of their employment. AB 378 gives childcare providers the right to bargain with the state over recruitment and retention programs; professional development and training; reimbursements and pay; and gives providers the ability to establish training partnerships through which they can work with the state or local government to improve training, access to care, safety standards, and other important areas affecting the home-based childcare system.

The collective bargaining representative will have the right to obtain contact information of the childcare providers it represents, and can access new provider orientations. This will assist the collective bargaining representative in offering the childcare providers professional development trainings and other opportunities that promote high-quality childcare.

PERB is responsible for hearing and resolving unfair labor practice charges regarding bargaining or other matters.

With the passage of this bill, California joins eleven other states that have already granted home-based childcare providers the right to bargain collectively.  This bill increases the power and voice of working people, particularly women, who are supplying a service that is crucial to the healthy operation of our society.  Amplifying the voices and recognizing the professionalism of these workers is a great win for California.

For more information, contact your labor law counsel.

By Xochitl Lopez | October 22, 2019

Legal Developments