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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

SEIU tries to get child care message across with diapers…

Speaking of political theater, the Service Employees' International Union and child care providers from across the state turned up at the governor's office this morning bearing hundreds of (new, unused) diapers.

"Time for a change" some of the diapers read. "Raise subsidy rates up from the bottom." (emphasis in original diaper)

The point: The union is representing child care providers negotiating for better rates for state-subsidized children.

"We really want to provide quality care, but we can't at these rates," said Spokane's Nancy Gerber, who runs Little House for Little People, where 70 percent of the 13 kids are state-subsidized. She's been providing childcare for 30 years.

Currently, the state pays about a third of the market rate, according to Sue Winn, a provider who's on SEIU's negotiating team. That works out to $7 to $28 a day for an infant, depending on region, she said.

The unionized childcare providers are seeking a 15 percent increase in that, she said. The state is offering a 3.5 percent increase.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.