Worthy Wage Day 2014

Worthy Wage Day is a national day of action, held annually since 1987, as part of an ongoing grassroots campaign to raise public awareness of:

  • The low wages earned by early childhood educators, and
  • The damaging effects on young children of instability from the teacher retention crisis and chronic underfunding in early education.

Worthy Wage Day is celebrated this year on Thursday, May 1. At the AFT, our celebration will kick off "Mobilization May," a month of activism when communities across the country will focus on the urgent need to restore equity and fairness to national, state and local policies that determine every family's access to the American dream. Together, we must RECLAIM THE PROMISE for all children and their families.

Thank an Early Childhood Educator Today!

Worthy Wage Day On Worthy Wage Day, the AFT calls attention to the importance of early childhood education and the dedication of its workforce. Every year, educators adopt a playful but poignant theme to highlight the need for worthy wages in our field. In 2007, our Worthy Wage quilt—along with its message, "We're hanging by a thread!"—was featured on NBC's "Today" show. In earlier years, educators delivered peanuts and play dough to members of the U.S. Congress, saying "We shouldn't work for peanuts!" and "We can't make it with 'play dough'!"

While research and official policy now support the importance of early education, families and early educators continue to struggle:

  • Poverty-level wages are driving experienced early childhood educators from the field.
  • Funding for child care subsidies has been cut in hundreds of communities around the nation, making child care less attainable for hundreds of thousands of families.
  • A bad economy, cuts in state child care subsidies and increases in parent copayments have all forced many child care businesses to close. This not only decreases the availability of early learning opportunities for the nation's youngest children, it also damages the small business sector, both urban and rural, of the American economy.

Research also shows that the most important component of quality in early care and education is the quality and consistency of the caregiver/teacher. As long as early educators are paid low and poverty-level wages, we, as a nation, will never be able to ensure that our youngest children receive the highest quality early care and education.
It is time to reclaim the promise of early childhood care and education—not as it is today or as it was in the past, but as it can be—to fulfill our collective obligation to help all children succeed. Reclaiming the promise is about ensuring that early childhood care providers and educators are well-prepared and supported so they can meet the individual needs of every child.

National Worthy Wage Day is jointly coordinated by the Center for the Child Care Workforce and the AFT.

AFT is Reclaiming the Promise

It’s time to reclaim the promise of high-quality healthcare—not as it is today or as it was in the past, but as it can be—to fulfill our collective responsibility to guarantee access to all.

Reclaiming the promise is about creating a healthcare system that puts patient care and safety above corporate profits.

Reclaiming the promise is about ensuring frontline caregivers and staff are well-prepared and supported so they can provide safe, efficient and high-quality patient care.

Reclaiming the promise is about ensuring healthcare institutions are at the center of the community, are responsive to the community’s needs and provide access to all.

Reclaiming the promise is about supporting healthcare systems that are designed to keep people well, not just to treat them after they become sick.

The promise is under attack by those who demand and pursue profitization, privatization and deprofessionalization of health services.

By uniting our voices—caregivers, patients, families and the community—we can reclaim the promise.

Join us in reclaiming the promise of high-quality healthcare.

Together, we can help our healthcare systems become centers of their communities that make the needs of patients and families their highest priority. We must ensure that vital healthcare services are available to all.

Reclaim it!