Hillary Clinton endorsed many driving principles of the labor movement’s platform during a conversation with working parents, childcare workers, and union officials, hosted by the Service Employees International Union on Wednesday. The meeting took place at the Centers for New Horizon's Effie O. Ellis Center in Chicago.
“We have to stand firmly together and united on behalf of your right to organize, your right to bargain collectively, your right to fight for the higher wages that reflect the value of your work,” Clinton said, according to Bloomberg.
Regarding the state of America’s child care, Clinton said that federal and state funding has failed to keep up with the needs of families who have faced soaring costs in past decades. She added that the current budget plans in Congress would only make the matter worse.
“I am going to be putting forth plans to fix this," Clinton said. "We either want Republicans to get on board or get out of the way.”
Many child care professionals and working mothers were in attendance at the meeting, and spoke up about their struggles.
“Child care providers are responsible for children's development. We get them ready to start school, we watch how they grow and we are an extension of their family," Maricarmen Macias, who has worked in child care for six years, said during the discussion with Clinton. "I love my profession, but I also have to support my own family. It's time to invest in our profession and our nation."
"All parents need quality, affordable child care so we can do our jobs and provide for our children," Lakesia Collins, a mother of three, added. "The hard working dedicated child care providers also need to be able to make ends meet for their families."
Patricia Bailey, who has owned and operated a preschool for 25 years, spoke of the need for a minimum wage hike.
"Many of our parents that we serve -- they can't pay the regular rates that we offer, so we give them discounts, and with those discounts, we have to struggle and balance" to provide quality care, she stated. A minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, she concluded, “would be such a great benefit.”
"When we short-change childcare workers, we short-change kids and America's future," Clinton said.
Clinton said she was ashamed of how the U.S. treats parents.
“I traveled to 112 countries as your secretary of state," she said. "There are only nine countries that have no form of paid family leave and we’re one of them."
At the time of her comments, laborers in Chicago participated in an organized demonstration outside of the McDonald's headquarters to demand an increase in hourly wages, NBC Chicago reports.
Photo Source: Brett Weinstein/Flickr, NBC Chicago