Looking back over the past 20 years we have witnessed huge changes in our society from technology to food. There is however one notable exception – child care. For three members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers the more things change the more they stay the same. Here are their stories shared at a recent kitchen table conversation.
Suzie was a stay-at-home mom of three until her youngest was one year old. It was absolute hell to find child care while working afternoons with her husband working three rotating shifts. She ended up buying her mother a car so she could come care for the kids. Once she started at Canada Post as a casual worker, she constantly had to pass up hours because she had no one to care for her kids. Today she’s a secondary caregiver for her grand-kids.
Kim has two boys. Twenty years ago, she was paying $30 per child per day. It was impossible to find affordable, quality child care and she was forced to use nightmarish home situations. Fast forward 20 years and today she’s dealing with the same issues with CUPW members. Little has changed.
When Trish started her job, there was no child care. She’s a rural and suburban mail carrier so she took most of her five kids with her on her route. Her husband would be in the car while she sorted. Now her son and his 15-month-old live with her. There’s a hefty six month wait time for child care in her community. She had it easy compared to others. In her culture the women step up to the plate and care for the children – aunts, mothers, grandmothers – when someone calls, you go. I don’t know the daycare struggles off the reserve but it’s hard for mothers. I understand the frustration of women trying to work.