Rochester Head Start Workers Vote To Join Local 200United
On Monday, November 15, 203 workers at the Head Start program at Action for a Better Community (ABC) voted in an overwhelming majority to join with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200United.
The workers started forming their Union in September as a way to both improve classroom conditions for the children they serve as well as working conditions for themselves. Regina Brown, a Teacher Assistant, said, "We deserve what is best for us so that we can do the best for the children we serve."
The vote as counted by the National Labor Relations Board was 127 for SEIU to 49 for No Union.
Kelvin Jones, a teacher assistant, echoed the sentiment of his coworkers before the election: "I have been employed for twenty years and have always just had to accept whatever changes management made. No longer do I want to let others make decisions that affect my life. I want a voice, it's time for change!"
Head Start teachers at ABC help approximately 1,500 children from infants to four years of age develop reading and math skills to be successful in grade-school. They lead programs at five centers (1772 Clifford Avenue, 1150 Hudson Avenue, 640 Jefferson Avenue, 700 North Street and 49 Stone Street). Home visitors reach out to families in Monroe and Ontario Counties.
Teachers, teacher assistants, childcare assistants, family developers, parent advocates, health intake specialists, nurse, substitutes, cooks, and cook assistants at ABC are all now members of SEIU.
Photo, from left to right: Ana Marzan, Estella Lundy, Clementina Cintron