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Child Care Unionization Debate Intensifies Before Vote

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The debate over whether to unionize childcare providers in the state heats up next week. A judge will Monday decide whether to issue an injunction on a lawsuit filed to stop the Dec. 7 vote.

Lisa Thompson, a supporter of unionizing child care, spent Saturday morning making calls to influence the way she approaches her business. She called fellow child care providers to remind them of the upcoming vote to form a union.

“This is providers coming together to work on issues that affect our business and livelihood,” Thompson said.

The effort to form a union is in its sixth year, and it got a big push earlier this month when Gov. Mark Dayton issued an executive order allowing a vote.

“We’re one of the most heavily regulated industries in the state, and we have little say in that process,” Thompson said.

But for every yes vote, there may also be a no vote. However, these no votes will never be counted.

More than a hundred people against unionizing child care showed up at the Capitol Saturday afternoon. Of the more than 11,000 child care providers in Minnesota, less 5,000 will get to vote on this issue. Only child care providers who get state subsidies will be the ones casting a ballot and that’s not sitting well with the more than 6,000 providers who don’t get a say.

“If the union wants us to be a union, why don’t they allow everyone to vote,” said Jean Casper, a child care provider who does not want a vote on unionization.

The possibility of unionizing also has many wondering what type of impact it will have on their business.

“I don’t want to pay fees to a union that I don’t belong to,” said Janet Krutzit, who rallied at the Capitol.

Dayton’s press secretary explained via email why only 4,300 providers were included in the executive order:

“The providers who are registered to get state subsidies have the most direct relationship with the state. That is why they are included in the vote to possibly form a union. The union would meet and confer with state agencies, so it makes the most sense to include the providers who have the most direct relationship with the state.

If a union is formed, and they meet with the commissioners and agree on proposed changes, any changes in law or policy would have to go through the legislative process where everyone would have a chance to make their voices heard.”

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