Minn. Legislature Examines Child-Care Union Push

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) will send out child care union ballots on Dec. 7, but critics say there are too many questions, and too little time, to hold the election before the holidays.

That’s why child care providers traveled to the State Capitol Monday, skeptical of a union and filled with questions about how much they will be affected.

“My personal plea is stop it,” said Cyndi Cunningham, a St. Paul Day Care provider, who shut down her business to attend a Minnesota House hearing. “If it’s a lawsuit, personally, go for it.”

BMS has certified 4,287 in-home, private day care providers eligible to vote in the election– the businesses that receive state subsidies.

However, BMS director John Tilsen admits it is unclear whether the remaining child care operators in the state — an estimated 6,713 — may be affected as well.

“This is a very unusual circumstance; I dare say, unique,” Tilsen told lawmakers. “And the answer is: I don’t know.”

Republican lawmakers question whether Gov. Mark Dayton has the legal authority to order a union election, and say the election should be postponed or canceled until the questions are answered.

“So, we’re going to be going into an election where probably the biggest question there is — we don’t know what the answer is.” asked Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston. “Well, that’s troubling to me.”

If unions win the vote, opponents say they’d be required to follow whatever regulations the union negotiates with the state.

“I want someone to help figure out how to stop, and give us back our rights that we have to be able to be self-employed people, and not be under the control of the union people,” said Cunningham.

House Republican leaders also question whether there is enough time to mail thousands of ballots, allow providers to vote, retrun the ballots and tabulate the results before the Dec. 22 deadline.

“We’re not against unionization. We’re not against people collectively bargaining,” said Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, the chairman of the House Commerce Committee that held the hearing. “This just seems to be a little bit out to left field.”

The two unions who are pushing for unionization, AFSCME and SEIU, were invited, but did not attend the hearing.

In a statement, AFSCME said it is busy “preparing to win the union election.”

More from Pat Kessler
  • scott

    what union is supposed to represent them if this goes through?

  • Negotiation?

    If you are the employer and the employee, who will you negotiate with? This will only help in 2012 in the bigger stage of anti-progressive politics. It would be funny if the people that are getting public daycare assistance have to actually pay more for daycare because of this.

  • American

    Parents are paying much more now thanks to our republican politicians who decreased the amount of subsidy the parents are allowed. Providers take a hit because some don’t feel it’s right for struggling parents to pay more than they afford for childcare. Tax breaks for corporations and higher rates on everything for the average American. To me, that’s anti-progressive politics.

    • American what?

      Hold on there. The fact is that there should be no ‘subsidy’ to begin with. If you can’t afford daycare, you shouldn’t have kids. I’m not talking about the tax deduction but the direct income based assistance that the poor planners and bad decisionmakers receive for continuing to make poor choices. Contiuing to give subsidies to the poor planners and bad decisionmakers of the world is how we got into the mess in America to begin with. Simply put, you save up for a long time to have kids instead of continuing to have unplanned pregnancy after unplanned pregnancy.

    • Kevin

      Pay for your own kids moron! Why should I pay for them? No one paid for mine! You are such a typical casturated moron….

    • sick of people's BS

      Use parents lightly. It is usually 1 parent asking for more handouts more subsidies while we have dead beat dads and moms out there.

  • Sara

    Scott, a portion of MN would be represented by AFSCME and a portion by SEIU. I provide licensed daycare in an area that would deal with AFSCME. My opinion and experience with them is very little, but extremely negative. They have received the support of several licensed providers under false pretense. This vote should not be taking place, or at the very least, ALL licensed providers deserve a voice. Not just those being paid by the government (childcare assistance).

    • scott

      THANK YOU , this has more info than the news story it’s self. I agree with you on AFSCME. Usually it’s all smoke and mirrors with them.

  • Esther

    If AFSCME believes that the other providers should and will be able to lobby for themselves through the legislature than why do any of the providers need them at all? The amount of money providers will have to pay to be in the union could just as easily be spent to attend legislative hearings. The state cannot afford and should not be responsible for paying all of a childs daycare expenses. When do we hold the parents responsible for their actions?
    If a provider does not feel it is “right” to make a family pay more than their subsidy that is the provider’s choice, they have every right to deny them care and take on someone who can foot the bill.
    When will all the subsidies end? Soon their will be clothing subsidies, gas subsidies, and school supply subsidies. Why don’t we just go right to some completely crazy country and ration everything. That way everyone only gets their “fair” share.

  • Scott W

    This makes absolutely no sense. I am pro labor union, but I can not understand this move by the Governor. This distracts from the issues we need to address. Very important issues.

  • Kevin

    Oh CCO….again you give misleading information. There are nearly 12,000 daycare providers that will be effected. BUT ONLY 4000 get the right to vote for the union…why???? They are the 4000 that accept welfare subsidies….oh those silly casturated liberals……letting the minority rule the majority……just like in Spain…it worked well there….how many more years of this spoon fed moron do we have left?

  • See BS

    Isn’t this misleading?

    Unions are not the legislative branch – they have no business making rules, or public policy at all.

  • Jim

    MN will never change because it is a Democratic State. DFL and Unions go together don’t you get it??? It is like… The Unions says ok I elected you to the office, now give me something in return. Who’s benefit all this? The Union official and they are laughing us right now. So don’t get angry! Learn about the candidate and vote for the one you believe can make the different for this State, for this Country.

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