BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Western New York childcare workers took to the streets Monday to fight for higher wages and equitable care.
"Enough is enough,” march organizer Vonetta Rhodes said. “We are underfunded, under resourced and we feel under appreciated."
This was part of a nationwide event to bring awareness to the issues in the industry.
"We are the workforce that anchors the workforce,” Rhodes said. “They can't go to work if they have no place to put their children."
During the march in Buffalo Rhodes said the past two years have taken a toll on childcare workers.
“The pandemic has exacerbated everything,” Rhodes said. “Workforce shortages, material shortages, learning material shortages. Childcare centers have had to close"
She said most childcare workers are fighting for pay above minimum wage that they make right now.
In buffalo, minimum wage is $13.20.
"That is an insult to anybody’s livelihood in humanity,” Rhodes said. “We should not have a work force who are working poor."
Governor Kathy Hochul is investing $7 billion into New York State childcare over the next four years, but Rhodes said it’s not enough.
"That's not going to be enough to sustain early care and education,” Rhodes said. “Childcare is a right and it needs to be permanently and fluidly funded."
She said childcare should never be in question for anyone.
"It should be available to all children,” Rhodes said. “Regardless of their zip code, geographic location, their race, their culture.”