New Mexico to Provide Free Child Care for Most Residents
New Mexico will eliminate the cost of child care for most families through June 2023, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced in a press release.
This initiative will apply to families that earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level, expanding affordable child care to more than 30,000 families.
“The co-pay waiver for my 4-year-old son’s child care has been such a great help financially for our family,” said Irlanda Hernandez, an educator and mother from Albuquerque. “As a dual-language second-grade teacher with a background in early childhood education, I know that a quality early education can have a tremendous impact on a child’s life, and this expansion of the child care copay waiver makes quality early education all the more accessible to families like mine.”
Child care workers are also being aided through a new stipend program that will pay up to $2,000 per semester to professionals enrolled in an early childhood program at a local college or university. Employees will also have the opportunity to propose grants on how to best expand child care access to local communities that need it most.
Check to see if you are eligible for child care assistance here.
Wins and Losses: Long Island Starbucks to Unionize As Amazon Employees Vote Against
Starbucks workers across the country have continued their campaign for stronger worker protections after baristas in Long Island have voted 19-8 in favor of unionization.
Their win comes during a period of distress for the coffee chain, as attempts to dissuade workers from unions by interim CEO Howard Schultz were rather unsuccessful, as Next City previously reported. The company, however, has retaliated against unionized stores, pushing workers in Delaware to strike. Employees’ grievances include exclusively increasing wages, extending training and other benefits for non-union stores.
Amazon workers in Shakopee, Minnesota, are also on strike. Employees walked off the job last Friday to demand a $3/hr wage increase and the ability to take time off for the celebration of Eid, a holiday that marks the end of Muslims’ 30 day fasting period.
And while workers at a larger Staten Island facility became the first Amazon warehouse to unionize, employees at a smaller location voted against unionization, City & State New York reports. Union organizers suggested this was largely due to Amazon’s vast anti-union propaganda, and are taking this moment in stride.
“Workers are paying attention now, which is beautiful,” Christian Smalls, ALU head organizer, told City & State last month. “We’ve got people right here in the tri-state — New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — that want to start ALU chapters. So we absolutely are going to help people out as much as we can. We hope that this will be nationwide.”
Abortion is an Economic Issue
A leaked draft opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade also comments that pregnant people do not need access to abortion to be financially stable, the 19th News reports.
Alito argues that because pregnant people have access to guaranteed medical leave “in many cases,” and can use insurance and government assistance to cover medical costs, the economic effect of abortion is insubstantial.
But this is not the reality for many Americans.
As the 19th points out, 95% of workers have access to family leave that is unpaid, and only the top 10% of U.S. earners have access to anything that resembles guaranteed leave.
The United States is also one of seven countries that does not have a national paid leave policy, and births can cost anywhere between $4,300 to $5,200, based on a study of more than 600,000 women in 2015.
Senior Fellow and Director for Women’s Economic Justice at the Century Foundation, Julie Kashen, said Alito’s argument had no merit. “Even if we had access to paid family leave and child care and insurance coverage for pregnancy and childbirth — even if we had all those things in place, which we do not, the need to have the right to abortion continues to exist.”
This article is part of The Bottom Line, a series exploring scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. Click here to subscribe to our Bottom Line newsletter. The Bottom Line is made possible with support from Citi.
Solcyre (Sol) Burga was an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow with Next City for summer 2021. Burga graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in political science and journalism in May of 2022. As a Newark native and immigrant, she hopes to elevate the voices of underrepresented communities in her work.