On January 20, in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the workers at La Casa de Don Pedro in Newark voted overwhelmingly to join the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO. The nearly 60 workers in La Casa’s Early Childhood Division voted 41 to 9 to join Local 1037.
The newly-organized group includes teachers, assistant teachers, administrative assistants, receptionists, drivers, family workers, janitors, cooks, substitutes, and wraparound staff.
Workers at La Casa will join the 1,000 other child care providers and 10,000 workers all together already represented by CWA Local 1037.
A strong internal committee led the organizing effort from the start. After workers demanded recognition using a mission statement signed by the majority of the workgroup, they stuck together right through to today’s election.
“I’m so proud of my colleagues for standing in solidarity to build our union,” said Diame Gonzalez, who works at La Casa de Don Pedro’s Broadway location. “Now the real work begins. As we move into contract negotiations, we will fight to improve our wages and working conditions, and we will fight to expand resources for the child care services we provide and improve the learning conditions for the children in our classrooms. This is a victory for us and it is a victory for the families we serve.”
The Union organizing effort at La Casa grew out of the Better Beginnings campaign – a partnership between New Jersey Communities United and CWA – which seeks to organize child care professionals, working parents, and early childhood development specialists around fights for expanded resources and increased funding for early childhood development. The lead organizers on the La Casa organizing and the Better Beginnings campaign are Fareeda Mabry, CWA and Leah Owens, NJCU.
Also working on the organizing are: Anne Luck-Deak, CWA District Organizing Coordinator, Trina Scordo, Executive Director, NJCU, Paul Karr, Communications Director, CWA Local 1037/NJCU, Roberto Cabanas, Lead Organizer, NJCU, Ken McNamara, President, CWA Local 1037, and Hetty Rosenstein, CWA NJ Area Director.
CWA represents 700,000 workers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including 70,000 workers throughout New Jersey.
New Jersey Communities United is a progressive, grassroots community organization committed to building power for low and moderate income people, predominantly in Newark.