We, the members of the Baby-Sitters Club (BSC), are proud to announce our intention to form a union. An overwhelming majority of the club’s members have signed cards with the newly established BSC Union. Organizing is the declaration of our commitment to shaping the BSC into a more equitable and successful workplace, and will enable us to continue offering high-quality childcare well into the future. We call upon the BSC’s management, Kristin (“Kristy”) Amanda Thomas, to voluntarily recognize this union.
Below are a few of the key goals of the BSC Union. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Transparency and Egalitarianism
The club does not currently hold regular elections. The officer roles were essentially casually agreed to and assigned at the club’s inception. Thereafter, in ad hoc elections, management attempted to police which members could vote for which positions. A fair and anonymous vote is the foundation of any free and democratic institution and should be employed regularly by the BSC. Some club members feel that Ms. Thomas has autocratic tendencies that must be curbed by a strong republican system. For example, she chooses to sit in a director’s chair at club meetings to telegraph her power to the rest of the members. Additionally, our junior officers, Mallory and Jessi, have been demoralized; they are expected to sit on the floor at every meeting, meaning they are literally looked down upon by the rest of the club members. A more egalitarian environment would be healthier and could breed increased creativity, higher morale, and greater cooperation.
We believe that every worker needs a vacation. Unfortunately, since joining the club, nearly every vacation any member has taken has been combined with childcare in some respect. While this is sometimes welcome, every teen and pre-teen deserves a break from being responsible for other people’s children. The last time Mary Anne was in Sea City, she got drunk on hard lemonade and was still expected to beach comb with Claire Pike at sunrise.
We request more financial freedom. The BSC’s current dues system is overly burdensome and far too much of our treasury money is spent on the patently unnecessary Kid Kits — antiquated money pits of toys, crafts, and other items that members are forced to cart along to sitting jobs. The club members are being paid less than federal minimum wage and should not be expected to provide material entertainment and craft supplies for their charges. Besides, Jackie Rodowsky accidentally destroyed at least $200 worth of Kid Kit supplies last month alone. We have other financial obligations that are more pressing. At the time of our union vote, Stacey needed to fund a new perm, Claudia had to stock up on marzipan dollhouse furniture to turn into earrings (she has two holes in one ear and one in the other), and Dawn wanted to buy some clothing that reflected the fact that she is an individual, such as a chambray shirt. Club members deserve to make their own fiscal decisions.
Safer Work Environment
Stacey (who suffers from diabetes) and Dawn (who is from California) eat healthy food out of necessity and choice, respectively. Additionally, Jessi watches her weight sometimes because she is a Serious Dancer. Although these members appreciate Claudia’s sporadic attempts to provide them with healthy snacks during club meetings, they still feel overwhelmed by the amount of junk food in the room and believe it has created a hostile environment (sorry, Claud!). BSC meetings should be a safe space that is free from high-fructose corn syrup. (Mary Anne would like the BSC notebook to reflect that she abstained from voting on this issue, and she also cried).
The associate members of the club, Shannon and Logan, do not feel that they are afforded the same opportunities to take on desirable baby-sitting jobs that full-time club members receive, and they see no path to becoming permanent members of the club at this juncture. The BSC should discourage the practice of “permalancing.” After an agreed-upon amount of time, Shannon and Logan should either be made full-time club members or find employment elsewhere. Shannon further adds that she would like management to stop describing her as “interesting looking.”
We are not seeking to weaken the BSC, which we all respect and revere as management’s greatest idea. Rather, we hope to strengthen the club by empowering its members with necessary protections. We look forward to working together and continuing to provide quality childcare to the families of Stoneybrook for many years to come, or at least until we are old enough to get our licenses so that we can drive to cooler jobs at Washington Mall.