Early-learning employees strike over low, stagnant wages

Cadence Academy staff claim that they are not benefiting from regular tuition increases


Teachers and childcare workers went on strike this morning at a Lacey branch of Cadence Academy Preschool, a national early childhood education services provider based near Phoenix, Arizona.

“The staff at Cadence Academy on Martin Way are protesting low wages despite regularly increased tuition,” Sarah Wolf, an employee of one of the Cadence Academy locations in Lacey, reported.

“A lot of people out here protesting have been here for years,” shared Wolf, who is also on strike against the preschool.

Stagnant low wages

According to Wolf, the cost of tuition is raised every six months and experienced staff are being paid $16, which is close to the state minimum wage of $15.74 an hour. The last tuition increase was shared with parents on the first of this month.

“Parents are told these increases go to pay teachers when they do not,” Wolf related.

Rose Bayer, who as of next month will have been with the academy for a year, said, “I was told that they increase the tuition every six months.” is a float-shift and closing manager who earns $16 an hour.

“When I started working at Cadence Academy, I had just moved here from Portland, where I was making $22 an hour as a nanny. I asked them for $18 an hour and they said no,” said Bayer. “I know that everybody that's been hired since I was hired is making more money than me.”

The location has about 25 employees, 15 of whom joined the strike. Inside the school today were four of the teachers. The strike demonstration was planned today as employees were expecting a visit from the regional manager. Cadence operates seven facilities in Thurston County and five more in Pierce County.

“If management isn't going to come talk to us and offer us more money, I think we'll probably be here on Monday,” Bayer stated.

Teacher struggles

“A lot of the lead teachers are striking because they have no budget for their classroom. They don't get any supplies on time. The curriculum is not taught to the teachers. None of the teachers know how to teach their kids and they're not taught because we don't have enough,” Bayer told The JOLT.

Bayer related that one of the lead teachers in the preschool classroom “earns the exact same amount of money as me and teaches curriculum.”

The teachers typically make more than the other staff. They also do not get time to plan their curriculum and don’t get breaks during lesson time like other staff, according to Bayer. Sometimes the staff from this location gets sent to other locations, as the other academies are understaffed, she added.

Statement from the company

 “We make every effort to compensate our employees fairly based on the market and their credentials and experience, including annual wage assessments for eligible employees,” a Cadence Academy representative said in a statement. “We appreciate that these employees raised a concern and continue to work to address their concerns.”

The company did not respond to several specific questions we asked, including about workers' claims that tuition increases were not paired with pay raises and that newer workers get paid more than experienced workers. 


8 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • pheong

    faith-based, no doubt.

    Friday, August 4, 2023 Report this

  • HRayn98

    The public’s support means everything! Thank you for covering this!

    Friday, August 4, 2023 Report this

  • TheVirtualOne

    The company is owned by Morgan Stanley Capital Partners. That should tell you all you need to know. It’s about PROFIT.

    Saturday, August 5, 2023 Report this

  • TheVirtualOne


    Saturday, August 5, 2023 Report this

  • AugieH

    "faith-based, no doubt." - pheong

    No doubt, you're dead wrong. Private, but not faith-based.

    Saturday, August 5, 2023 Report this

  • ejpoleii

    Interesting that "faith based" and "for profit" are considered bad. Public education is supported by by taxed (stolen) money and is run for the bureaucracy and unions and is MUCH less answerable to parents. This is good?

    Saturday, August 5, 2023 Report this

  • greenleaves2023

    Faith-based, if you count religious dedication to the mysterious entity known as "the market"

    Sunday, August 6, 2023 Report this

  • Southsoundguy

    A lot of people aren't making enough money right now; should we all go on strike?

    Monday, August 7, 2023 Report this