We in ECE are not your cannon fodder

Friday, March 20, 2020

The inevitable has happened. The world economy has ground to a halt and the nation casts their eyes to whom? Child Care providers.

"Work! Keep Working! We need you to work so we can give you our children so we can work!"

I ask

"Where were you all when I had no health insurance? When I survived on 13,000 a year? Where were you when I would ask for a living wage to be told that I did unskilled labor that anyone could do?

Where were you when I got no sick time, and no vacation? When I came in sick with bronchitis or drove through dangerous conditions to get to my job so I could care for YOUR children?"

"But we need you! You are an essential service"

I ask

"Really? Because most of my work force lives in poverty. Many of us make minimum wage. Most make no more than $10 per hour if we are lucky. We qualify for SNAP benefits. We use food pantries. You've never paid me like I was an essential service. In fact you made me feel guilty for saying that I needed more money. You told me that I was greedy, that I wasn't in this for the money."

"But we can't work if you don't care for our kids! You can't be selfish! "

I pause.
"I am not selfish. However, you don't get to abuse me for decades and then turn around, point at me, and demand that I accommodate you."

"But who will care for those sick and dying?"

I exhale. 

"Who will care for me? Where is my protective gear? Why is my health less valuable?

When you pass new emergency laws raising adult to child ratios so I can take more children into my already crowded classrooms how does that help? Who does that help? Me? 

Are you unaware that children spread disease faster than any other age group? Have you not spent time with a group of eighteen 4-year-olds?  or eight infants? That crowding more children into those classrooms guarantee that more disease will spread?

What happens to me and my colleagues when we (inevitably) get sick? Who cares for MY children?"

I start to close my door. You jam your foot into it.

"You must work! We can talk about what you deserve later. You must work now"

I push the door close as I say:

"My profession and our bodies are not your cannon fodder. I told you this day would come and we told you, endlessly, that your economy runs off of our labor. You ignored me.

You stepped on me and my colleagues over and over and over.  People wrung their hands and said "Yes, you deserve so much more", but more never came. Our wages and benefits never increased. Our facilities never got better. We still have to spend our own money on paper, and paint, and glue, and kleenex, and snacks to feed these children that we love. We still have our own children to feed. For many of us we can not afford to send our children to the centers in which we work.

Your promises are empty.  You will forget about us as soon as this crisis passes. If you wanted to change this you could, but you are too busy telling us that it is all too expensive for you to do anything.

Care for your own children. We hear it is easy unskilled work not worth a living wage. Not worth health insurance. Not worth getting an education. "

I lock my door.

4 Baleful Regards:

تاج للخدمات المنزلية said...

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تاج للخدمات المنزلية said...

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تاج للخدمات المنزلية said...

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تاج للخدمات المنزلية said...

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