Reality Check: Unionizing Day Care

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota has some of the highest child care costs in the country for center-based day cares.

Soon, less costly private in-home providers will get the chance to organize a union. But will it drive up day care costs for families?


Gov. Mark Dayton could have unionized all of Minnesota’s 11,000 in-home child care providers immediately, but his executive order covers only the ones who get public subsidies.


Only 5300 of Minnesota’s 11,000 private in-home providers get public subsidies, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Subsidies which are widely different based on a parent’s income and county.

Privately funded day care providers and parents are not affected.


The families of nearly 34,000 children get low-income subsidies in Minnesota, averaging about $900 a month. One purpose of a union is to pressure the state from cutting that money.


When public subsidies for child care are cut, parents often drop out. Providers can raise rates, but often, simply, close.

There are other states with child care unions, according to the office of Gov. Mark Dayton:

1. Connecticut (2011 Exec. Order) – only those receiving subsidies
2. Illinois (2005 Exec. Order) – only those receiving subsidies
3. Iowa (2006 Exec. Order) – regardless of subsidy
4. Kansas (2007 Exec. Order) – regardless of subsidy
5. Maine (2008 Legislation) – regardless of subsidy
6. Maryland (2007 Exec. Order) – only those receiving subsidies
7. Michigan (2006 Interlocal agreement) – regardless of subsidy
8. New Jersey (2006 Exec. Order) – regardless of subsidy
9. New Mexico (2009 Legislation) – only those receiving subsidies
10. New York (2007 Exec. Order) – regardless of subsidy
11. Ohio (2008 Exec. Order) – regardless of subsidy
12. Oregon (2005 Exec. Order; 2007 Legislation) – regardless of subsidy
13. Pennsylvania (2007 Exec. Order) – regardless of subsidy
14. Washington (2005 Exec. Order) – regardless of subsidy
15. Wisconsin (2006 Exec. Order) – regardless of subsidy


The Bureau of Mediation Services will send out union ballots Dec. 6 and the counting begins Dec. 20. It takes 50 percent, plus one, to form a union.

That’s Reality Check.

To check the resources used for this Reality Check, click on the links below.

MN Dept of Human Services: Child Care Assistance Program
Resources For Child Caring: Anoka County 2011 Child Care Rates
National Women’s Law Center
Minnesota Child Care Union Information
History of AFSCME/SEIU Organizing Child Care Workers
FAQ Union Questions For Child Care
Minnesota Child Care Statistics
Child Care Union Costs By State
Resources For Child Caring: Child Care Statistics
Child Care Industry Study On Unions
Union Reasons for Child Care Unions

More from Pat Kessler
  • G Dog

    Let em vote. That’s democracy isn’t it?

  • Murph

    You got that right? This still is the land of the free..until too many vote fascist in 2012! Then we can talk about the good ole days while we await the end in the GOP REX 84 camps and wait to become Soylent Green wafers! Our worries will be over,but our kids will become robot like slaves to Exxon and the coal and steel mining companies ,everything we we never thought could happen in a “free” country will become the norm!From innovators to in a a consenntration camp.How low can Newt stoop? Let history be the judge.Are you punks feeling lucky?Well are ya!??

    • Yummy!!

      I like Soylent Red myself. Crunchier.

      Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated.

    • Andrew

      Thank you for advice, I aeippcrate it.I still haven’t recorded my site in any search engine because it’s not over yet.But I’ll do it definitely.Best regards,/Mari/

  • Jenny

    Recall this madman. Highest daycare in country, state financial problems, and his answer is put in a union to drive up cost and than say it won’t cost any more. It doesn’t take a rocket citizen to figure out this one.

  • Murph

    You{almost} Repugs? You ain’t there yet!! Yer on the list,especially once they eliminate YOUR job too! No benefit to the GOP,off you go! Bye see ya!.THIS will be no ORDINARY election,save your freedom and your escape routes ,or go ahead and throw them away! It’s your choice,chose your friends wisely and your enemies with vigor and courage! They want what little you have left and they have the means to take it!We learned too late in the 1930’s.You better be a bit quicker and a bit smarter.When they conspire to cut you out of the equation,as they already have! You better find and join a way to cut them off at the freakin knees.The alternative is to be a kneeler and your children too ,for a long,long,time! Look at Appalachia!

  • Kevin

    Ummm…no white children in Minnesota???? Just wondering…..

  • Murph

    Ok,I’ll quit preachin the gospel and just say ,put “children of the mountains” on your search engine.You have not yet seen THAT side of the GOP! If ever it was time you did…THIS is it!You are next! Ain’t no way you can’t see that!…!

    • Murph

      As you will see,some {not so unknown} entity has tried their very best to make the reading and meaning, difficult to follow! Yet being such a “tongue in cheek” upright entity they , the GOP ,will not infect your computer,just interupt your train of thought!Some call it politics,some call it reality! Unless you have lived there you have no idea of the 2012 reality waiting for YOU! Life expectancy there? Hmm how straight can you shoot,how many kids do you got?You do what you have to do or you give in to the dark side of the GOP poverty plan.Look, Listen and Learn, the three L’s of liberty with a Republican LISP! # 1 Learn who they really are,# 2 Lean away from false promises, #3 let them such air at the next may be your last!

      • Murph

        OMG in 15 minutes the black out has ceased!!! I can’t freakin believe it!They are going to let you see the truth without disruption.Of course they have probably dispatched a sniper team to take me out! But,Hell it’s worth it to see them squirm! I can afirm to them right now.that as an avid outdoorsman who has hunted since age of seven or eight with rocks,slingshots ,bow and arrows and then firearms at about age 13.I am not an easy target,or easy to find.I have learned the secrets of the woods and average about 50 hours a week in them .I am old and retired and intend to stay that way! I welcome the challenge of your amatuer assassins,wish them luck,they really do need it!!!

  • Money for the DFL

    34,000*900= 30,600,000

    If everyone joined and paid 1% dues thats 306,000 more for the DFL

  • Murph

    Put those figures in subtraction to workers per person and into per person CEO and ownership and you have the complete and unequificable answer to the puzzle.You ,AND I MEAN… YOU… as an employee can share in the profits or be a slave ,at slave wages to the “NEW” Republican party and the 1%! Shove those who bedevil you off a cliff and join,start or invent a union! You deserve better than the shells of the rich man’s lobster dinners and the slobbers from their gluttony!!

  • Carla

    Why the h are we paying for daycare in the first place. You can’t afford to have a kid, don’t. If you do don’t ask me to pay for it.

  • Susan

    They say that people will not be forced to join the union.

    Then why do they need a vote? If people want to join, they can join now.

    Something doesn’t make sense here and the media is clueless.

    • sid

      the media is in the dem bag

  • Reality Check: Unionizing Day Care « CBS Minnesota

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  • Julie

    Taking money from families. Forced union membership. In turn a large portion of which will end up at the DNC. This country is going to hell. There is no shame in the dem party.

  • Dirk

    How can Dayton look at us with a straight face and say that child care costs will not go up? Even if no wage increase results from unionizing, the union will charge dues to their members. If union membership is mandatory (which is their goal) this alone will increase the costs to consumers. After all, I don’t know any body (union or otherwise) that will take a pay cut to keep prices the same if their costs go up.
    And if child care is subsidized by the state and union dues are used both for compensation negotiation and for political contributions (to Dems of course), the only outcome is increased costs to the taxpayers.

  • Dan McGrath

    “Let em vote. That’s democracy isn’t it?”

    Oh. It’s “democracy” to let a minority of providers decide for all? That’s how this sham of a vote is set up.

    The overwhelming majority of these self-employed, in-home daycare operators don’t want to be “represented” by a union, so only those with subsidizd kids in their care will be allowed to vote, but the executive order establishes the union as the exclusive representative of all childcare providers to bargain with the state on regulations, etc.

    In addition, though the governor is promising union membership is voluntary, this state has so-called “fair share” laws that could require non-member small business owners to pay the union 80% of expected dues for all that helpful bargaining they’re going to be doing, that the providers don’t want to begin with.

    This is about filling union coffers and diverting money meant to help low-income families into political campaigns. Period.

  • Logic 101

    Someone please explain what is preventing subsidized daycare providers from joining together to lobby the state now? This sure seems like a power grab to me, and of course it assists Dayton’s party.

  • Dan

    I wouldn’t send my kid who whatever daycare was filmed in this segment. Did anyone else notice those kids playing in that Tupperware tub? I bet there is a sticker on that thing saying it’s not for kids to play in.

  • Isobella

    That animation was otlatly cool.I imagine a water pillow would really keep my neck cool and I would love that, but I guess you do not need to keep your neck cool if it is snowing.We also got a cold front yesterday, but that just means it is sunny and 66 instead of sunny and 76 Sounds like you need a Texas vacation.

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