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FAQ about Worthy Wage Day

What is the history of Worthy Wage Day?
Worthy Wage Day came out of an ongoing Worthy Wage Campaign, launched in 1987 by the Center for the Child Care Workforce. The national campaign was designed to draw attention to the important work of early childhood educators and the urgent need to improve the wages, benefits, professional development opportunities and working conditions for early childhood educators. From the start, we have made news and made history! Through Worthy Wage Day, we have been able to raise public awareness of the impact of low compensation on quality, and we have engaged early childhood educators taking action for change. Both of these activities continue to this day. In some communities, the campaign has prompted the establishment of local Worthy Wage groups devoted exclusively to this issue. Elsewhere, other early childhood education organizations, associations, support agencies and/or unions have taken on the challenge. Since 2003, Worthy Wage Day has been coordinated at the national level by the America Federation of Teachers.

What kinds of activities were done in the past?
Activities vary from community to community, based on each area's needs and level of organization. Local events have included rallies, conferences, lobbying efforts, public displays, job shadowing, media events, fundraisers for the local campaign, recognition and celebratory events, and more. The AFT and other national partners have been involved with the "peanut" campaign, where peanuts were delivered to elected officials and other decision-makers to draw attention to low wages of early childhood workers, as well as collecting signatures for Worthy Wage quilts and obtaining federal proclamations.

How can I organize an activity for Worthy Wage Day?
Various factors, such as time and resources, will determine the type of event that may be possible in your community. Whether you can plan something big or small, there is something everyone can do. Please read further for the listing of activities that we have provided in this Worthy Wage Day Toolkit.

How do I get media coverage for my event?
Local news stations and newspapers are always looking for new stories; they will respond to you if you give them enough notice and have available all pertinent information about your event. When you do make contact with the media, be sure to provide the basics: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. For more information and ideas on how to engage the media in your events, see the Media section.

Can parents be involved?
Yes! Activities can be as simple as asking parents to wear a sticker to work on Worthy Wage Day or inviting them to your center for coffee and donuts. Find out more about parental involvement in the Getting Parents Involved section.

At this time, I am unable to organize an event. Is there another way I can help?
There are many simple ways you can help get the message out about the need for increased wages, benefits and professional development opportunities for early childhood professionals. They include:

  • Making a commitment to talk with someone outside of the field who has an interest in our issues.
  • Staying informed! If you haven't already signed up, click here to sign up to receive regular updates from the AFT.
  • Let others know about the AFT's work to ensure that early childhood educators are given the rights, raises, and respect they deserve.

How can I keep the momentum of Worthy Wage Day going throughout the year?
Fighting for worthy wages is a constant battle. Be sure to connect frequently with legislators, media and parents to talk about the value of your profession. Activities that have been described on this Worthy Wage Day Toolkit can be done at any time of the year. Simple ways to keep the momentum going include collecting signatures from parents and people within the community or writing letters about the issue to your local newspaper throughout the year.

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