Approximately 20 day care workers were on the picket line in Grenville on Friday, September 24. The one-day strike was the first of what could be up to 10 such days across Québec by members of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN).
In Grenville, the picketing workers were from that village and St-André-d’Argenteuil. Outside the La Puce a L’oreille day care centre, worker’s spokesperson Millie Charlebois said salaries, working conditions, and staff to child ratios are the main issues. The day care workers have been without a collective agreement for more than a year.
Charlebois said the average employee to child ratio is 10 to one, but it increases to 16 or 20 to one during nap times or when parents are dropping off or picking up children. The workers want a single ratio throughout the day.
Salaries for day care workers are not increasing, but the premiums they pay for their health insurance benefits are increasing, along with the cost of living.
“We pay more, but we don’t have more,” said Charlebois.
The day care workers also want more time to assist children with special needs, to assess the needs of children, and for preparation time.
Future strike days could be held. The CSN will decide if they should happen based on the progress of contract negotiations.