The Battle Over Unionizing Home Day Care Providers

ST. PAUL(WCCO) — There’s a major push underway to unionize Minnesota’s 11,000 home day care workers.

Backers say the union will result in better care for kids and a level playing field for providers dealing with state regulators. But critics, who rallied at the State Capitol Rotunda Tuesday afternoon, say the unions would lead to much higher costs for parents — in a state that already has the fifth highest day care costs in the country.

In St. Michael, Minn., Hollee Saville’s basement has been decked out for her home day care center. She wants no part of a union.

“I got into this business, I stopped working at a center where I was an employee. I don’t have employees. No one is my boss. I decide my hours, my rates, my policies, holidays and such,” she said.

Saville said in a union, she’d lose that control. She currently charges $150 per child, per month but said she’d have to charge more if she was in a union, because she’d have to pass off the cost of union dues.

“They’d have to go up,” she said. “I can’t afford $180 a year or $900 a year in union dues.”

But in St. Paul, Mary Albert, also a home day care provider, sees it differently. Most of her kids get their day care costs provided by the state because they are low income.

She has to deal with a lot more state regulation and often deals with delays in getting state reimbursements. She thinks a union would help with some of those issues.

“A union would be good for the providers so we have some type of say-so when the lawmakers are making laws,” she said.

Albert charges $155 per month and doesn’t believe she would raise her rates.

“I’ve got low income parents and it wouldn’t make sense for me to say I’m going to raise my prices because I gotta pay union dues, that don’t make sense,” she said.

Gov. Mark Dayton has said he is considering issuing an executive order that would allow day care providers the chance to vote on whether they want to be in a union or not. But republican leaders have a problem with that — they plan to hold hearings on whether the governor can make that executive order.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Calley Gravning says:

    Maybe they should give the home cares the choice whether they want to join the union or not. Personally I do not think that unionizing home childcare is a good thing. It is a private business sector with better rates then centers.

    1. middle class says:

      Gov. Mark Dayton has said he is considering issuing an executive order that would allow day care providers the chance to vote on whether they want to be in a union or not. But republican leaders have a problem with that — they plan to hold hearings on whether the governor can make that executive order.

      Did you read this part? I bet when you read the word “union” you got all work up for no reason.

      1. Loius says:

        But if the vote is a majority yes, then all daycare providers will be held at gun point to join the communist union.
        Why???

  2. Jim says:

    Forcing union membership on those who don’t wish to participate is just more intrusion on private businesses. Does no one get a choice here?

    1. middle class says:

      Did you read this part? I bet when you read the word “union” you got all work up for no reason.

    2. middle class says:

      Gov. Mark Dayton has said he is considering issuing an executive order that would allow day care providers the chance to vote on whether they want to be in a union or not. But republican leaders have a problem with that — they plan to hold hearings on whether the governor can make that executive order.

      1. Ezra Gonzalez says:

        Sounds as if the EO would allow the 11,000 providers to vote with a majority decision then being implemented, at that point there would be no choice if union membership was required. Perhaps you need to stop getting so worked up.

    3. Heather says:

      Jim,
      We have the choice to join, but being MN is not a right to work state we will be forced to pay “fair share dues”. As of yet the only area the union has succsefully garnished dues is the state subsides program. Though in some states they are trying to tap into the fedral food program as a way to collect dues, since not all providers take low income families.

  3. ByeBye says:

    Wow the union pocket greasers must be really lining the politicians pockets here, then in 3 years they can go on strike to never return, also we already have lazy union warehouse workers do we really need lazy babysitters also, beat it union you’re as obsolete as tube televisions.

  4. nope says:

    I got news for ya Mary Albert, day care provider in St. Paul. Being a part of a union will STILL GIVE YOU NO SAY when it comes to legislation. They are rogue machines that don’t give a whoop about you…just the bottom line…and they will make sure you are paid the least possible with or without a union card. Don’t waste your time.

  5. Intelligentmom says:

    Get your facts straight!! A child care union will not raise child care rates! Do the math! If you have 6 families, pay $30 a month in dues, and want to pass a cost on to parents it would be a whopping 20 cents a day per family! And no, union dues will not be $900 a year! Most of the providers who are pro union do NOT take children who are receiving subsidies from the state. The media is using fear and hype to try to influence those who don’t have the frame of mind to do their own research. A union will not dictate what goes on in a providers home, a provider will not become someone elses employee, nor will they become a state employee.

    1. thesuperman says:

      Well Intelligentmom, Then why do we need a union of daycare providers? I don’t see any media using fear or hype. Why does a family want to pay your dues? Your whole rant makes no sense. Do you really trust your government?

      1. You seem ANGRY says:

        You don’t take care of kids, do you?

    2. JP2011 says:

      The dues in the Illinois child care union last I saw capped out at $900 per year. How can you guarantee Minnesota families that the same won’t happen here? Furthermore, if providers are self employed and not employees of the state, then they don’t qualify for bargaining rights with the state.

      As a child care provider I must say I am offended that you would imply providers “don’t have the frame of mind” to do their own research. It sounds like you are implying we are all stupid. Looking at the the facts and deciding that this union will not benefit my business does not mean I just don’t get it. It means I am a smart business woman!

      1. Intelligentmom says:

        In no way was I implying child care providers don’t have the frame of mind, nor was I addressing child care providers. I know several who are highly intelligent. I am speaking to the general public who blindly follow everything the media says without doing their own research. And I will fight to the end to change the perception that child care providers are mindless women who only ‘babysit’ to make extra money, as some of our republican Reps have stated. I would not have been able to work when my children were younger if it weren’t for the wonderful providers I had partnering with me in raising them.
        The media portrayal of those who are against shows a bright home with many wonderful things to promote child development. The homes of those who are pro are shown as dimmed, even dark, showing close ups of the providers and children but not panning out to show the environment.. Everything seems to be about subsidized child care with the slant that providers are only looking for more money from the state. I know some providers who are for the union and very few take families with state aid. And that makes for a very slanted story.

    3. Heather says:

      Intelligentmom :”Get your facts straight!! A child care union will not raise child care rates!”
      As a childcare provider and vice president of my association, in a county where all 75 providers are opposed to this effort I can say with !00% fact our rates will increase. If the subside rate goes up my private pay will also go up to reflect the higher rate. If the union takes dues out of my subside check those low income parents will be paying the amount subtracted from my pay. It would be nice if the union could give a dues amount but that isn’t established yet either, though AFSCME min dues are 25 a month.

    4. Heather says:

      Where are you getting your facts? I am vice president of my association, in a county wherre all 75 providers are opposed to this movement. I can say with fact my rates will increase, if subsides are raised my rate will also be raised. the cost of the undetermined union dues will be passed to my subside families. This is also the feelings of my membership.
      So it may be true some providers who are willing to work for minumal wage may not pass on the cost I am a bussiness owner and I have a bottom line to keep my bussiness running at a high quality daycrae home.

      1. Pat says:

        If 75 % of you are against this union idea then you will vote against organizing, and the union will not exist. What is the problem?

        1. Heather says:

          Not 75%, just 75 providers an entire county, there are 11,00 childcare providers. Not 11,000 employees. 11,000 business OWNERS, their is no point to a vote for Bussiness OWNERS ( NO EMPLOYEES). that is the problem.

  6. Middle class says:

    You have it totally right about the rich using fear and lies to keep the general public scared of the so call sin of going union.
    The top % has gained almost everything back they had over the common man/woman before unions created a middle class. It always blows my mind to hear middle class workers be antiunion without them they would be classified as low income. If all the unions closed like the rich want do you really think pay and benefits would remain same? And if they do what about getting a cost of living increases raise never going to happen.
    We all have the right to join or not but remember what you have at your current job came only because union members stood together for the good of all not just union members. And if you still hate them for that then go ask your boss to change your pay and benefits to what they would be without unions!

    1. No says:

      You’re not a day care provider, so quit spreading your fear in attempts to gather votes for democrats. You’re pro-union. You still have that 7% to support.

      1. middle class says:

        What fear did i spread? More like the facts of what unions have done for you. And when all falls apart for you us union members will be their to help you get your equal share. Because unlike the rich we care about people more than profits!

        1. KM says:

          Oh so the union cared so much about my husband and his fellow workers that they charged them about $25 a month in union dues while they all got not even so much as a cost of living raise for at least 10 years! Yep, that’s right nada, zip!

        2. No says:

          middle class, we are talking about day care. Let’s see, you’ve got the big ones and the little ones. The little one’s have a self-employed person, maybe 1 or 2 helpers or maybe not. Yep, that solo person needs a union. Even if this self-employed person has a helper, yep that sure must require a union. ARE YOU ON DRUGS? There is no place for pro union discussion in this industry. The big ones can join a political pac if they want to but a union isn’t required for the self-employed who have 0-2 staff.

  7. AP says:

    That video told me everything I needed to know about this…

  8. DAYCARE PARENT says:

    HOW ABOUT A CHOICE. WHAT THE F?

  9. Pindo says:

    Will unionized daycare providers attack other unions similar to what happened with the Teamsters in Washington? Man, just imagine all those sippy cups being thrown at the cops.

  10. e says:

    Now I have heard everything! It must be the end of the world! We need to get rid of these people like Dork Dayton and obamabin laden

  11. Jean says:

    Guess what folks. Family members of a disabled child are now told that they cannot respite. It must be a non family member (union anyone?) And they must be licensed by the state. State pays for the respite so the letters have gone out. Do you think wide eyed Dayton and the unions have gotten together and plotted this.

    All on this comment board who said it is a choice to unionize or not are being duped. The unions are going into day care houses and telling them to sign the card for information purposes. What it really is an ok vote to unionize.

    1. Jean says:

      Guess what folks. Family members of a disabled child are now told that they cannot respite. It must be a non family member (union anyone?) And they must be licensed by the state. State pays for the respite so the letters have gone out. Do you think wide eyed Dayton and the unions have gotten together and plotted this.

      All on this comment board who said it is a choice to unionize or not are being duped. The unions are going into day care houses and telling them to sign the card for information purposes. What it really is an ok vote to unionize.

      And then you can get retirement benefits compliments of the tax payers.

      How the heck did that looser Dayton ever get elected! Voter fraud maybe!

      1. Notasheep says:

        Shoot, I should just go be a politician and get all my benefits for life at the tax payers expense! And all that lobby money!!! I wouldn’t be a democrat because they just get union money, I’d be republican and go after the big guns!

  12. Heather says:

    This isn’t a democrat/republican, union/anti-union issue! It saddens me that ever news article about this topic has a host of comments who either blindly love or hate the union. It is a simple right/wrong issue and unions as wonderful as they are and all they have done for labor in this country are wrong for childcare industry. Is there any other group of business owners that are unionized? Licensed HOME childcare is a group of majority woman who own their own business. There is no labor in this group; it is individual women who work from their homes caring for children.
    The reporter really should have gotten her facts straight on a few issues. 1 childcare provider receiving subsidies are not regulated more than other providers; we all have the same rules to follow. It’s called rule 2 Google it.
    2. It is mixed across the board that is or is not supporting this effort. I believe both sides were offended by this remark of providers receiving subsidies were for unionization and those who don’t receive subsidies are not. The struggle here are the hundreds or reports on how the union is claiming majority and there dishonest card collection tactics.
    3. In MN only 19% of children in childcare receive childcare assistance and of that 19% only 9% are in HOME childcare settings (DHS, 2004) that leave 74% of MN parents paying their own childcare bill.
    4. State law is clear that childcare providers are not state employees or public employees. This was made clearer when childcare providers fought to have the state subsidies sent directly to them. We did this without the help of the union; yep we are big girls and can negotiate with the state by ourselves.
    Let me educate a few that are not in the business of child care: State subsidies is a welfare benefit given to low income families so they can afford to go to work (because MN is the 5th most expensive childcare state in the US, it’s more expensive that collage (CCR &R, 2006)) and their childcare is partially to full covered. Just like food stamps, But like food stamps families are not giving cash, they get a debit card that can only be used to buy groceries, yet the grocery does not have the right to negotiate the price of chees with the state, they simply provide a service and parent get what they can afford. It is the same concept with childcare we were not getting the cash the state allotted to childcare from families so we petitioned the state to have the subsides sent directly to us. When a low income family comes to me for childcare we interview each other, I explain I charge $130 a week per child and the county pays $125, the family has the option to pay me the weekly $5 difference or find a different childcare with lower rates.
    5.Union dues will most definitely be passed down to families and the low income ones since this is the area the union will garnish their fair share dues from, regardless if they are successful in achieving anything. In IL the union dues are set at 2.8% of a providers subsidy check. I have 7 children on subsides, my monthly check is $3,500, at 2.8% my fair share dues are $125 a month, that’s one weeks’ worth of pay for one child. I run a business not a charity; this money will be recouped by passing it down to the low income families, because my private pay families are paying me my full rate.
    Who is going to be paying for this increase in subsides, well we the tax payers are! I would much rather take a subside deduction, and the extra funds generated from that be place to the 1,500 families who are on the waiting list to receive child care assistance, get those families out there working, paying taxes and putting their children into childcare where I will make an additional $130 a week. Increasing my monthly income by $520, not cost the tax payers extra taxes and increase the state’s tax revenue by 1,500 people.
    Where does the union fit here? It doesn’t simply because we are business OWNERS, self-employed ( my 30% self-employment tax says so) independent contractors, who would like to be left alone from political debate and game play and go back to just educating, playing and loving the kids we care for

    1. Yeah!! says:

      Oh my God! A reasonable and rational explanation. That should put an end to people forcing the union down your throat! You go girl–bring that to the Capital. Though, I’m not too worried. The republicans won’t let this slide easily so you do have time on your side.

    2. Pat says:

      “Where does the union fit here? It doesn’t simply because we are business OWNERS, self-employed ( my 30% self-employment tax says so) independent contractors, who would like to be left alone from political debate and game play and go back to just educating, playing and loving the kids we care for”

      So…..are you a member of the Chamber of Commerce? Do you belong to any professional organizations? Are you passing those costs on to us helpless taxpayers? Why are you insisting of being “fairshared” instead of becoming an active union member and fighting for your rights along with other child care providers? Are you lazy?

      If you are right in your supposition that unions are only a huge burden to the worker, and all the other child care providers agree with you, then the vote to unionize or not should be over very quickly. If, on the other hand, there is a body of day care workers who would like to have representation and help bargaining for higher wages and better benefits, then they should have the right to call for a vote and have a chance to organize. This is America, not Somalia or China. People here can organize to better their lot in life and the government should support that effort!

      1. Heather says:

        Pat,
        Bravo on the union rhetoric, was that scripted? I am a member of a business group, because I* choose to be( being my choice I do not pass the cost on), I am the Vice president of my local association, I am the county rep for the state association, I advocate with childcare works on issues I believe in. I am also a child care provider running a very successful business, 50 hours a week, with 12 kids, and a waiting list, I set my wage, I set my vacations because I can as a business owner. Also I am a single mother of 3 kids and a full time college student, I am a senior for elementary education and I am on the dean’s list, plus I teach Sunday school and volunteer on several community projects. So NO I am not LAZY, or am I uneducated. I am a DEMOCRAT, I have been a delegate at the caucus and I will Happily Join the UNION when I am a certified teacher working for the school district, because of my now vast knowledge of union working I will be a fantastic union member! But I must stress I do not have an Employer, I am self-employed and there for there is no bases for a union in my field; And definitely not one that can represent an entire industry. Not all self-employed electricians are in a union, they get a choice free from fair share. Ever other union member has a governing body like the labor relation board to oversee the union’s actions; this union would be free of that! Meaning it’s members would have no protection from the possible of misconduct on their part, if they fail to make effective change there is no De-certification process and if for some reason we as a labor body was dis satisfied with AFSCME or SEIU we have no right to change to a new union, I might prefer teamsters and as a whole under normal labor conditions we could vote to be covered by them, BUT NOT under this union proposal. There are no choices.

        1. Yeah!! says:

          Heather, YOU ROCK!

        2. Heather says:

          I need to retract $42,000 to $24,000. I transposed numbers. Sorry

  13. Realllllly .... says:

    $150 per MONTH, really! FACTS. How do you write a story without the correct facts … I would guess thats a WEEK!!!

    1. Yeah!! says:

      In Heathers example, she said per week. But, yes…I know exactly what you are referring to. Exactly.

  14. KM says:

    Unions are so desperate they are going after the self-employed!

  15. Jack says:

    This will cost the state millions of dollars that it does not have. The state has no choice in removing children from daycare that they provide for low income familys. This is the real target of the union and the payback from Gov Dayton.

  16. they should have a choice says:

    The day care providers in our county,(my wife included) are unanimous in their opposition to unionizing. Their main objection is that they will lose control over their home based operations, with no real benefits resulting from the dues taken from their incomes. The providers in this county already meet on a regular basis for training sessions and to discuss any issues facing them. They are self employed entrepreneurs who have gone to considerable effort and expense to become licensed. They work closely with parents on their children’s care and how much they charge. They have the right to take or refuse clients. They feel unionizing is an unnecessary interference in their business.

  17. Union Buster says:

    If you do not want to be in the union then don’t join it. Oh wait where in Minnesota a closed shop state guess you will be in the union if you do not want to be. Unions are old fashion more crooked then the business owners. Look at what the unions have done to our factory jobs, GM, and now are newest problem the US post office. Funny how the news always shows the whining union workers all the time. Guess the media is in bed with the unions.

  18. Deb says:

    After watching this video and the interviews, I realize that wcco did not do their homework. Number one most of what the union organizers want to do is track the legistrators from just implymenting whatever they choose on daycare homes. They do not do this job, and have no clue for the most part! It is NOT to raise our rates! We can do that anytime we as a daycare home choose anyway. We all charge differently. I have a hard time believing thes two daycare homes charge what they stated, and if they do…. well that is their choice.
    Daycare home dues would NOT be that high… and more than likely would be on a sliding fee bases. My guess under $50.00. It would NOT regulate our home rules, it would NOT regulate what we charge to parents, it would let us add common sense to anything put to the legislature dealing with laws. On the other hand it would also keep all daycares better informed! Those that oppose the union are from homes that do daycare for parents that make more money then let’s say greater MN., therefore they DO NOT care about poor families, nor do they care that stupid laws only surpress our ability to care for children!!! THEY ARE ALL uninformed, and I would wager, NEVER ATTENDED a meeting to get informed!!! Media! DO A BETTER JOB OF GETTING ALL SIDES OF A STORY, PLEASE!!!

    1. they should have a choice says:

      Incorrect. The union organizers held and informational meeting and also came to our door to talk with my wife. The day care providers in this “greater” Minnesota county have a cross section of clients, many of whom receive state aid to pay for the service. Your claim that they only do day care for upper income families is bogus and insulting. Your claim that it would not regulate what parents are charged is misleading, as it implies that providers should just absorb the cost of union dues. The providers of this county considered the union reps proposal and discussed it at length. They decided that the loss of what averaged to two months income a year in union dues was not offset by any significant advantage in membership. They are very well informed on all issues pertaining to their business. You are misinformed: “more likely would be on a sliding fee basis…?” Your “guess” is that it would be under 50.00? You seem to know little yet have no problem making insulting accusations against those who have rejected union interference in their businesses.

      1. Deb says:

        think you have comphrehension problems. You need to attend a meeting, time at the door with children around doesn’t cut it!!! Did NOT say half of what you think YOU read!!!
        I have been to meetings, been told exactly what I stated! Have you??? No one has ever stopped me from questions, even if they didn’t like them!!

        1. they should have a choice says:

          Again, your accusations that those providers who were against unionization were uninformed and provided services only for upper income were insulting and bogus. If you are so well informed why did you say you “guessed?” “Time at the door with children?” As if I’m not totally aware of what’s going on with a business run out of my home. Your tactic of denigrating providers who do not agree with your “guesses” is ridiculous. I have no comprehension problems whatsoever. My response addressed specific points in your comment. You however have definite problems handling any disagreement with your position. Your entire reply is a personal attack rather than a reasoned response.

          1. Deb says:

            where did I say “guessed”? My intent is not to insult, it is to point out that half the story was reported. Children with a daycare mom at the door is common.

            1. Deb says:

              Fees, ARE yet to be decided, by union members. I have been in a union, my dues were less than $50.00, so knowing I made much more at that job then my daycare job, pretty sure we would not vote to implement a higher fee. Again everyone can choose to do daycare for low income families, or not, but you cannot charge other families less than your county will pay for subsidized families, unless you charge the low income families at the same rate. You can always charge more, but counties do not pay any more than their allowed. I have done daycare for almost 30 years, believe me…. pretty sure I know how that works. (If you live in a community that has higher paying jobs, there no doubt are less subsidized daycare needs.) Still as I stated, I am still undecided, mainly because of so many things left to do, and decide.

    2. Heather says:

      I am in greater MN; I have attended 7 union meetings and was kicked out of 2. I was kicked out for asking questions, like how does the union propose to get health care and a penton because at every meeting this is what organizers claimed they would do. I was also told at these meetings that if I signed a card they would keep me informed as to union activity, guess what “more information” never came and union organizers Like Head in St. Paul Adriana Kern and head of Duluth Eric Letto have stated those are membership cards and when the union is recognized by Gov. Dayton everyone who signed one of those cards are automatically members.
      Give me one Law in Rule 2 that does not belong there! I can rattle off 3 that should be and I am working with the state association and childcare works to get those laws in place. I am sorry that some providers CHOOSE to not be involved in the already established state association to keep them self-informed. Because MLFCCA does keep its membership informed and has meeting to see what the entire state of MN providers want to see changed. They do this for $35 a year.
      I resent the statement that we do not care about poor families! I love each of my families equally not on socioeconomically group over another that is such an attempt to claim Union provider love their kids more. This is the other side of the story. This issue has divided us, providers who got into this line of work because we love kids, we love having our autonomy and we all feel this way ( providers from both sides) But when strong feeling come out it’s sad that we are personally attacked.
      I have just like Lisa Thompson worked my side of the issue for 6 years. I have done my research on unions, childcare unions, what has gone on in other states; the only difference is I look at the story from all angles not just AFSCE’s propaganda. I have talked to providers all over the state, and from the states that are currently unionized and the ones who are in the process like we are. I do this on my own time with my own money. I have sent out fliers to providers here in MN so they are at the least informed on what is happing, with my own money. There are actually a lot of us who have done this. But Lisa Thompson is reimburse by the union for her efforts to the tune of $42,000 in 2009 and Sandy Trosson from SEIU had received $68,000 in 2009 (2010 records are not listed yet). These providers who claim to be like you and I, volunteering for this wonderful effort are well compensated to sell-out their fellow providers.
      Last: In other states Deb, how are dues collected? and on what basis is Fair share collected?

      1. Yeah!! says:

        Heather, last time I will bug you with my praise (I promise), but lady, you are needed in this battle and you need to contnue to fight. If day care providers were to become unionized, I see a snowball effect that would get out of control. My neighbor has a small foster home and we’ve discussed the line up that could be. This is a HUGE issue and a great cause. I’m glad you’re there and I’m glad it’s you!

      2. Bobby says:

        Than you Heather for speaking with a rational voice. Union for a self employed business owner just doesn’t make sense. If you run a daycare and work there by yourself- and go union, you would be forced to take a break for lunch, and a 15 minute break every couple of hours right? Does that mean you would have to hire additional help to work in your place when you are on your union imposed breaks?

        This is ridiculous. Unions belongs NO WHERE near a small business owner.

  19. Deb says:

    If you were informed, you would know that the fees have not been decided, that it comes to votes, and formed committees! None of this can happen till first steps are done. I as of yet have still not decided how to go, but I know I do my research too. I am in the progress of contacting other states with contracts.

  20. Pat says:

    Communist unions do not belong in home businesses…

    Daycare providers, keep unions out of your home. It is a huge mistake to think you will be better off.

    Parents, look at schools, once the union takes over, you can bet the rates will go up astronomically so the unions can get more money.

    DO NOT DO THIS TO YOURSELVES.

    What is wrong now? Nothing…

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