Hearing Held On Unionizing Minn. Day Care Workers

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Supporters and opponents of unionizing day care workers packed a contentious hearing at the State Capitol Thursday night.

Republican leaders organized the hearings in response to Gov. Mark Dayton saying he’d consider issuing an executive order setting up union elections for Minnesota’s 11,000 in-home day care workers.

Opponents who showed up said a union will change day care in Minnesota as we know it.

“The families come and they interview me as the person who they want to take care of their children,” said Becky Swanson of Dakota County. “Not a corporation. Not a union.”

Many other states do have day care unions.

In Minnesota, a union could negotiate state regulations and reimbursements. Union organizers deny it would raise day care prices.

“I cannot hide that I am angry and frustrated that there are some elected officials who are twisting our movement and using it as a platform to further political agendas, and the media’s fear mongering reports,” said Lisa Thompson, who is leading the unionization effort for AFSCME Council 5.

An irritated Gov. Mark Dayton called the hearing “grandstanding,” calling the Republicans who organized the hearings part-time lawmakers who need to get real jobs so they stop wasting taxpayers’ money.

“Those of them who are so in love with the private sector should to get a job there, and not have to boost up their per diems and their travel with these kind of shows and save the taxpayers that money,” said Dayton.

GOP lawmakers dished it right back, blasting Dayton for not attending.

“I don’t know what this governor is trying to hide, but it’s discouraging,” said Sen. Mike Parry (R-Waseca).

Republican leaders said Dayton does not have the legal authority to issue an executive order facilitating any union. Such an action, they said, would be illegal and unconstitutional.

More from Pat Kessler
  • No More Unions

    Yup Just what we need, another Union. The cause of the problems we have in this country. Not the solution

    • Mike

      The biggest problem we have in this country is an uneducated, ignorant populous who make blanket unsubstantiated, irrational statements that do nothing, but make you look stupid.

      • Kevin

        Something like your statement MIke? Good point…

  • Chad

    Democrats need all the union $ they can get their fingers on – it is how they get campaign cash. They’ll get that cash either by choice or by force. If it wasn’t for the unions, most Democrats would never have a chance of raising $ for their campaigns.

  • R Wilson

    Lets face it. Daycare providers, for the most part, a stay at home moms who didn’t want to work outside of their homes. So, they provide daycare services in their home. They are subsidized by the State, which they should not be. Now they want to be subsidized by union benefits. If they want that, great, then they should operate just as every other self-employed worker does and they should not be subsidized by the State. Instead, they should pay their own costs for operating their business just like everyone else.

    • A Decdicated Daycare Provider

      It’s quite evident “R Wilson” that you know nothing about quality daycare as most of us “stay at home mom” daycare providers work extremely hard to provide quality care for children. Many of us provide more for the children than their own parents do. Lets see you care for 10 children of various ages 5 days a week and teach them, guide them, love them and keep them happy each and every day! And how are we subsidized by the state??? The only money from the state comes from low-income families that recieve financial assistance to pay for their childcare as thye cannot afford ti themselves. We work for that money by the eway! We pay taxes just like eveyone else and recieve sometimes less benefits than most workers. Any other questions??

      • Sam

        Just based on these comments I am going to assume when the unionization vote is put forth it will not pass. No one can force the daycare providers to unionize. It has to be voted on and I am going to assume that vote will fail. The only way they will unionize is if they are somehow forced which I assume could be fought in the courts.

        • JParrish2010

          In order for providers to vote, the Governor will have to grant child care providers bargaining rights. After the union loses the vote, those bargaining rights don’t just go away. All they have to do is wait 6 months or so and they can force a card check on us. They have told us they will not go away, that they are here to stay and we just need to get used to it. Considering the millions of dollars in dues they stand to gain from providers each year it’s clear why. So a vote is not a good option.
          We have also seen in other states that the majority (if not all) of the secret ballot election were based off the subsidy progams in the state and only providers who curently had children on the subsidy program were allowed to vote. If that is the vote they are contemplating here, about 85% of licensed family child care providers would not even get a ballot. There has not been a single state where over 50% of the bargaining unit has voted for the union. Providers were not informed that a vote was coming and were uncomfortable filling out ballots for a union they didn’t want or need. Of coarse we also have the unions telling providers that this is all voluntary and it won’t affect them if they don’t join. Because of this, voter turn out is low. In Michigan for instance, about 15% of the bargaining unit voted for the union and the union won.

    • Mag

      R Wilson where do you come up with this??? My daughter does daycare and had up to 10 children every day. She receives NO money from the state. As a self employed person she files taxes the same as everyone else. Her day starts at 6:30 AM with the first child being dropped off and ends at 5:30 PM when the last one is picked up. She has a degree in elementary education. She not only changes diapers and makes breakfast, lunch and snacks for the children, she also provides a stimulating enviroment for them. Until you’ve tried taking care of 10 children every day don’t knock them please.

    • Nicole

      This is sad Mr Wilson, you really should not comment about something you clearly know little about. I told my mother when I only in preschool myself that I would be a “dayare lady” when I grow up long before I ever knew what a stay at home Mom was. I will continue to do this long after my own children are out of the home. My husband is also a full time provider. We receive zero assistance from the state for tuition, medical or anything else. We pay for everything privately. We also pay taxes and it isn’t as easy as going to HR&Block. We do not need nor want a union…period!

  • Toby Williams

    Pass the stupid bill and watch the quality of daycare drop like a rock!

    • markH

      At least it won’t have far to fall.

      • Debbie

        Low comment! You obviously do not have a child in child care. I have been a provider for over 33 years. Not only are we with these children more waking hours than their parents, but we have many regulations to follow as well. As in any profession, there are good and some not so good. It is up to the parents to decide who will fit with their beliefs in raising children. We work 11 – 12 hours per day while the children are there. Then we have the time in cleaning up and preparing for the next day. There is shopping to do (not only for food, but art & craft supplies, toys, cleaning supplies), equipment to check & keep in repair.
        Things must be cleaned regularly and in a certain way. There is wear & tear on our homes & yards. We have continuing education that must be done every year no matter how long we have been doing this job. So check your facts markh before you make such an ignorant statement!

  • Proud to be Union Free

    R. Wilson, all the childcare providers I know operate a business out of their homes. Many of them hire employees, pay taxes and put the majority of their money earned back into a fantastic preschool program. We all pay our own operating costs. Childcare providers are not subsidized by the state, a family is subsidized by the state and get their childcare services paid by the state. With all that being said, the majority of providers in my circles are NOT interested in a union.

  • Mike

    You really have to be a lame brain to associate all that is wrong in this country on the backs of unions. After all, unions are nothing, but an organized labor force, bringing democracy to the work place. Working for a non union work place is a choice we all make voluntarily, but is pathetic to stand on the outside belly aching because you have low wages, benefits and no pensions when it is a choice you made.

    • Whitey Fjord

      If unions are so great, why do you have to pay to be a part of them? And if your company has one why are you ostracized if you don’t join it? Sounds like a giant Ponzi scheeme to me. FYI, I was in a union, and I make a lot more money now and have much better benfits now then I did when I was in one.

    • Morgan

      Unions protect dead weight that sit on their computers all day and type nonsense. If you are under paid, you look for a new job. If you are under qualified, go to school.

  • Sue J

    NO!!!!!!! Unions!!!!!! They Are Just Socialists In Sheep’s Clothing!!! NO!! Stay Out Of Our Lives Dayton!!

  • sid

    Perfect, get the unions in so they can raise rates and cost the state millions on top of a busting budget. This is the most outrageous reach by the demacratic party for future contributions I have ever seen. Why doesn’t CCO write a story on how much it would cost the state if the rates for day care were even raised by one dollar and hour, millions.

  • Kevin

    You woudl be amazed at how much these pepole make from the state (you the tax payer)! My neighbor has two handicappable kids at her house. She is paid over $50,000 to do so. Throw in a union and say goodbye to your tax dollars. And dont forget those nearly 40,000 Minnesotans who received free, tax payer paid, daycare…..again….say goodbye to your tax dollars….

    • Youbetcha

      I’m a tax accountant so no, I wouldn’t be surprised at how many tax dollars a day care provider can suck up. But average Jane & Joe citizen would toss their cookies if they realized how much tax free money and other benefits the day care providers rake in. Honestly, the day care providers get a better overall deal than the farmers do!

      • dcmom14

        Youbetcha, the deductions that I take on my tax return are legitimate business write offs as outline by the tax code. My business is in an area that my clients are mid to upper middle class who pay their daycare bill without the benefit of state subsidies. Please explain to me the ‘tax free money’ and ‘other benefits’ that I ‘suck up’?

        • You get a very "good deal."

          I didn’t say they weren’t “legitimate.” I said the average taxpayer would be shocked at how much “legitimate” day care providers get AND that, on a percentage basis, day care providers get an even better deal than farmers do (and the farmers get plenty to start with).

          Again, nothing was said about legitimacy or who deserves or doesn’t deserve what. Just that it’s A LOT compared to what the average taxpayer can get.

          • Yeah

            I’m not sure, but I would guess, that any bennys are eaten up by special insurances needing to be carried (liability and a special version of homeowners insurance). On top of a long day filled with kindness for a cause.

          • dcmom14

            You still haven’t defined the ‘tax free money’ and ‘ other benefits’ that I as a daycare provider ‘suck up’.

            I earn a living caring for 14 kids ranging from 6 months to 8 years old, none of which I gave birth to, I put a large portion of those fees back into the business in a thousand different ways from food to supplies to curriculum; I pay my own retirement, medical and liability insurance from those fees, I pay employees from those fees, all business write offs just like the big corporation that your ‘average’ taxpayer works for.

            Still I don’t see the ‘tax free money’ (because I pay plenty of taxes) and the ‘other benefits’ that I am ‘sucking up’? Please, enlighten me. I really want to know.

            • Yeah!!

              dcmom14, s/he’s obviously not anyone I would want doing my taxes. It’s a tax code for him/her to follow. We don’t need his/her opinion on the matter since he/she should be neutral and just do their damn job, not spout a position on it! Thanks for doing what you do, from the sane majority of us!

    • jimmy

      Have fun taking care of those kind of kids all day. It isn’t worth $50,000 if you ask me.

  • Sue J

    Gov Dayton, Rome is burning!

    • jimmy

      Sue J

      It started burning while the Republicans were fiddling

  • Simple

    A. Leave the day care workers alone. They do just fine without intervention by either a union or a governor. B. Dayton is a stooge.

  • jimmy

    I assume you can opt out of a union right? Unions are outdated. They are not needed, especially in something like day care that is in high demand.

  • mel

    And why were unions formed to begn with? Wasn’t it because they chained workers to their sewing machines and locked doors of the building so the workers couldn’t leave and paid them next to nothing? Wasn’t it to protect against slave labor and unsafe working conditions? I didn’t realize home day cares were such scary places.

  • Lol

    So the guys in the picture are day care providers who want to unionize? Yikes…

  • Why

    So why do Day Care workers need a union?

  • The Crux of the Buscuit

    Everyone here opposed to a union with children attending day care should just quit their jobs and stay home and care for their children themselves. Problem solved.

    • chuck

      unfortunately that would not work. Because the state has thousands getting free day care why would anyone stay home. that is the money the union is trying to get.

  • JMJ

    Dayton, has alot of nerve. He opens the can of worms and then gets mad when other politicians want to hear the opinions of those whom this will affect. He said it was a waste of time.

    Dayton is a waste of time, space & breath

  • inez

    youbetcha/ if you are an accountant? please reread the the directions for the C schedule for the child care provider. Are all these comments keeping theChildren first?????

  • they should have a choice

    The daycare providers in my county(my wife included) unanimously rejected the union after hearing their proposal. They provide care for children from every income bracket. They felt the unions offered no benefits in terms of collective action and information brokering that were better than those provided by their own state organization. They felt that the union would interfere in their operations. They felt that the unions claim that they wouldn’t force them to raise rates was deceptive as it implied that they should simply absorb the cost of union dues, which the union rep admitted could amount yearly to two months of their income. The providers of this county resent this effort to unionize them by force.They resent the insulting accusations by union supporters who claim anyone who disagrees with them is uninformed and must provide day care for only the wealthy.

  • Robert

    Money-grubbing AFSCME. They stole from my paycheck for 20 years and did nothing for the workers but give in to management demands.

    Now that I’m finally retired, I get a letter in the mail from AFSCME trying to “unionize” retirees! These scammers need to go out and find real jobs instead of leeching off other people’s hard-earned money. Run away fast when you see the green t-shirts coming.

    • :)

      Why run, look em in the face and plant a fist in between their eyes, lol.

  • James

    Money-grubbing AFSCME. They stole from my paycheck for 20 years and did nothing for the workers but give in to management demands.

    Now that I’m finally retired, I get a letter in the mail from AFSCME trying to “unionize” retirees! These scammers need to go out and find real jobs instead of leeching off other people’s hard-earned money. Run away fast when you see the green t-shirts coming your way.

  • unions stink of corruption

    The unions destroyed their own legitimacy by allowing themselves to be co-opted by organized crime, engaging in corrupt voting practices, and using their members dues to enrich the union leadership.

  • Pat

    I am a daycare owner and I also experienced unions in my previous jobs.


    You do not want them as your BOSS.

  • DaycareProvider

    Thank you Republican leaders for organizing this meeting.

    It shed light on something that I thought would never happen in this day and age, and that is indentured servitude.

    Since Minnesota does not have a Right to Work law, I would be required to give money to the union from my daycare.

    This is outrageous…

  • chris

    In Minnesota, a union could negotiate state regulations and “”reimbursements””. Union organizers “”deny”” it would raise day care prices.

    They DENY a union would raise rates???? And in the same sentence they say they will negotiate reimbursements. How will that not raise rates?

    In what lying, misleading, corrupt world do they live in?

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