Watch CBS News

New York Parents Push For Higher Wages For Day Care Workers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some New York parents discovered the day care workers caring for their children don't make as much money as they thought, so now they're going to bat for them.

As CBS2's Dave Carlin reported, the parents want bosses at day care centers to increase their workers' compensation, because they say these are jobs that should pay more than what you make at a fast food place or department store.

For Ryan and Rebekah Weiner, day care for their 2-year-old daughter is not cheap.

"It's premium day care. It's expensive," Ryan said.

They settled on Bright Horizons, where a child's tuition can run $30,000 a year.

Last September, at the New York location where their daughter is enrolled, four of her teachers suddenly quit. They said it was over low wages.

"We felt required to speak up," Ryan said.

They joined other parents in sending a letter to CEO David Lissy, objecting to the company's infant and toddler teachers earning as little as $11 an hour, which they compared to compensation for fast food workers.

CBS News confirmed the details in the letter with three former Bright Horizons employees.

"A hard day's work deserves a fair day's pay," Ryan said.

A statement from Bright Horizons said it, "always pays teachers more than the market average," while offering significant educational benefits, medical and 401k plans.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every year nationwide, about one third of early education teachers change jobs. The bureau said the average national salary is less than New York City's at about $20,000 a year, working out to $9.77 an hour.

Meredith Sawyer is a preschool teacher, not at Bright Horizons, and said the compensation makes the career she loves tough.

"I still have to work a second job to make ends meet," she said.

The Weiners' effort may result in better pay for day care workers, but extra costs could be passed on to the parents. Would they be OK with that?

"If it meant that the people who took care of my daughter were paid a fair wage, yes!" Ryan said.

Bright Horizons also said 80 percent of tuition goes to its teachers' salaries, training and benefits.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.