(WASHINGTON) – As DC City Council members gather for their morning breakfast tomorrow, hundreds of District residents will mark the opening of the legislative session with a rally and press conference to demand a halt to the impeding privatization of public services in the City, an impact assessment of recently-privatized facilities, greater accountability in the way does business and stronger oversight from the City legislators.
On September 25th thirteen childcare centers at DC Parks and Recreation will close their doors. “I have no idea how I will be able to find childcare for my son,” said Jane Andrews, a member of Empower DC and mother, whose son Andre was on the waiting list for one of the centers now closed. “There are so few centers that accept children with disabilities. I simply don’t understand why the Mayor is shutting down this high-quality, badly-needed child care service.”
Defying emergency legislation passed unanimously by the City Council requiring an impact-assessment of closing the centers, Mayor Fenty has pushed ahead, handing pink slips to over 150 DPR workers earlier this summer.
“The division being eliminated includes 150 employees. That’s 150 people who are being left in limbo,” said Ben Butler, president of AFGE Local 2741, which represents frontline employees in DC’s Department of Parks and Recreations. “In addition to the disparate impact on employees, the parents trust the employees of DPR’s daycare service to care for their children, to rip these kids away from people they have already developed a relationship with isn’t right,” said Butler. “The City Council has the responsibility to stop the closure of the daycare centers and reinstate the workers.”
AFGE Local 2741 filed suit against the Fenty administration seeking to stop the administration from moving forward with the planned privatization of childcare services provided by the department’s Office of Educational Services, which has provided D.C. parents with child care services for over 30 years. The union is being represented by the Donald Temple law firm.