(NewsNation) — Hundreds of day care centers across America were closed Monday, as workers in 27 states and the District of Columbia went on strike for better wages.
The workers are calling Monday “A Day Without Childcare,” intended to draw attention to an industry where the median hourly wage is around $13.
NewsNation West Coast Bureau correspondent Nancy Loo joined NewsNation Prime to discuss the strike.
“They call themselves the ‘workforce behind the workforce,’ and for many, their essential work doesn’t pay enough to cover their essentials,” Loo explained.
As many as 400 providers were on strike Monday, significantly disrupting child care operations.
“Despite the inconvenience, many parents support the fight for policy change and higher wages for child care providers,” Loo said.
Wendoley Marte, the economic justice director at Community Change Action, stressed the importance of the strike during a Monday appearance on “NewsNation Prime.”
“We have to make sure that we’re sending a very clear message that the crisis is real, that we need to take action now, and that … we’re going to hold elected officials at all levels of government accountable,” she said.
As these child care workers demand higher wages, the industry is dealing with a shortage of staff, particularly as many of those workers can find higher pay elsewhere.
“We’re competing with McDonald’s, a half-mile up the street,” Meredith Burton, who directs a child care center in South Carolina, told Axios recently.