ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday ordered Minnesota’s home-based child care providers to vote on whether to form a union, putting him on a union-rights collision course with Republican lawmakers who immediately vowed to sue in order to prevent the vote.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union have spent six years trying to organize licensed daycare providers, contending they deserve union representation to bargain over issues ranging from daycare subsidies to poor families to state and local regulation. Dayton, who has enjoyed strong union backing, said he would not take sides in the vote but believes daycare providers should be able to decide the issue for themselves.

“Given there is a dispute among those childcare providers, the fairest way and the American way to resolve that dispute is through an election,” Dayton said.

The governor’s executive order sets a union authorization election for next month, with final results likely to be known by Dec. 21. Republicans vowed to commence immediate legislative hearings on the issue, saying Dayton exceeded his authority, is pushing through the issue too quickly and that unionization of daycare workers would likely result in higher childcare costs for many families.

“For many middle class families child care is their greatest expense,” said House Majority Leader Matt Dean, R-Dellwood. “Clearly, anything that might increase that cost, you’d wonder why are we doing that?”

Union officials said they believe 5,300 licensed providers who receive some type of child-care subsidy from the state, and who together care for about 65,000 children, would be eligible to vote. The state has about 11,000 child-care providers total, but Dayton said those that operate solely on private funds would not take part in the vote and would not be affected no matter its outcome.

The governor also stressed that even if a union is authorized, membership would be voluntary. The election will be conducted by the state Bureau of Mediation Services.

Eliot Seide, the leader of Minnesota’s AFSCME Council 5, told The Associated Press in September that a union would give daycare providers a stronger say in imposition of state and local regulations, the amount of subsidies given to poor families for child care, and issues including training, health care and grievances with licensing authorities. He said the union would not be involved in setting rates for parents who pay for their children’s care.

Clarissa Johnston, who has provided childcare in her home in Moundsview for the last 25 years, said a union would “empower me, and help me concentrate less on rules and regulations and more on providing care to children.”

Several childcare providers backing the union drive said parents should not expect that unionization would drive up their daycare costs.

“We’re individual small-business owners, and we choose what our rates are. That wouldn’t change,” said Melissa Smith, a daycare provider in Prior Lake.

Republican state Sens. David Hann and Mike Parry, who lead that chamber’s Health and Human Services and State Government committees, suggested Dayton was rewarding unions for their political support.

“It’s just another Merry Christmas gift from our governor which will just create more government intrusion into the lives of our businesses,” said Parry, of Waseca.

Hann said he believed Dayton has no authority to call a unionization vote of private business-owners, and said Republicans would file a lawsuit to stop the vote.

“We are going to do everything in our power to make sure he cannot proceed,” Hann said.

Dayton’s office said 15 other states have authorized providers to collectively bargain on matters including staffing, safety training and quality of care.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Pat Kessler

Comments (68)
    1. Beavis says:

      Go away union bashers…

        1. DougT says:

          Exactly! Stop the {government supported] Thugs Now!

          The People are still in charge – we are the Boss – not the organized criminals – and in the public sector unionization should be outlawed – NOW

  1. Kevin says:

    Good God….trying to shove a stadium down our throats….now trying to show a union down our throats…..he sure loves shoving things down throats….

    1. Molly says:

      Voluntary defined; Done or undertaken of one’s own free will: a voluntary decision to join the union.
      Your stupidity has no boundary.

      1. Jack says:

        Better off with mob protection, at least they admit who they are.

      2. Jake says:

        @Molly is it your ignorance or your deception that leads you to attack Kevin? Why do you think they want to unionize? There is no employer with which to negotiate. This will be about “negotiating” with the state to force new rules on providers as though everyone of the providers is a member of the union. This will be ugly, especially for parents who already pay among the highest rates in the nation.

        1. Kevin says:

          Oh Jake…castruated liberals like “Molly” dont get it! Oh they attack with liberal words like ignorance….racist….stupidity…then they go home to their gay lovers and lick their paws….but in the end….we all pay more….Unions suck…Minnesota is a liberal toilet….and Jake…we are along for the ride……

      3. DougT says:

        YA – The thugs have a way of persuading people so see things their way…..

  2. Reailty says:

    This must be a form of pay back to his union buddies that got him elected in the first place. Dayton is the biggest joke in Minnesota. Glad he is setting himself up for one term really nicely.

  3. MAJ says:

    In Gov. Dayton’s world they would have been called Nannies.

  4. Joe Hanson says:

    Governor Dayton, where’s your stadium plan – it’s overdue.

  5. DARREN says:

    Orders? Really Gov.Dayton?

  6. Mac says:

    Mark Dayton go away. Keep yo your noe out of daycare providers business!!! When was the last time you paid for any daycare??

  7. tired says:

    Democracy = the opportunity for individual members to vote on issues that effects them. Majority rules.

    Voluntary = The opportunity to choose whether or not to participate.

    The opportunity to collectively bargain may turn out to be huge for day care providers! It will allow an independant provider to CHOOSE TO JOIN for their own benefit and for the benefit of the children they serve.

    If you don’t want to join – DON”T! NO ONE is forcing you to. This vote is just to allow those people who want to form a union to do so. When last I checked, we lived in the “Land of the Free.” So please allow people to be free and choose for themselves! If you choose NO, then that is your choice!

    1. mll says:

      My husband works for the county and has the option to be a full member of the union. Even though he chooses not to join, he is still FORCED to be a partial member and pay dues.

      It’s not always black and white with the unions. Whether the at home daycare providers choose to join a union there will always be consequences.

      1. Karen says:

        problem is with thousands of state funded mothers putting their children in daycares, we the taxpayers are paying the union dues and increases in pay. This is another dem/union scam costing taxpayers money.

    2. Sam says:

      I am sure it will be all voluntary.

      They have to be licensed by the State of Minnesota. I bet as a requirement of getting their daycare license they will be required to sign up the Union and pay dues. I can see it coming. Mark my words.

    3. Betty says:

      Who are they going to collectively bargain with? They are self employed! Are they going to demand higher pay from themselves, shorter work days, paid holidays? Come on
      This is just another way for Democrats to control another industry.

  8. Nunya Bizness says:

    There goes the price of daycare through the roof. As soon as the Unions start taking thier dues, and demanding higher wages, the people utilizing the daycare are going to start getting fleeced for the added costs.

  9. Mike Merker says:

    I guess Gov.Trust fund baby isn’t happy we are not higher in the price of child care. the top 5 isn’t good enough! This isn’t the one of the things we want to be number one at!

  10. Mr. Always Right says:

    since when can someone be forced to vote?

  11. BigjohnT says:

    My teenage daughter who is trying to make a little cash watching kids will now become a scab, great Dayton.

  12. Leadership at its finest hour says:

    Dayton must have over-medicated again this morning. Ordering child care providers to vote on a union but refusing to allow taxpayers to vote on the stadium issue.

    Which issue do you suppose has a greater financial impact on the largest number of Minnesota residents?

    Hmmmm … where did I put that prescription pad???

  13. Harry says:

    I guess this is the only way for Dayton to create jobs. What will be next? Paper boy, Barbers, Auto repair, Body repair, And maybe Building Contractors.

  14. S Walker says:

    Recall Dayton!

  15. Barbertan says:

    The governmnet public Unions can only go after services that can not be sent to India or China. They also go after services where there is no free market. This is the big government public Union lie…. and why they are not anything close to private Unions. Do not support public government Unions. Support all the private unions as they have goods and services that must compete in the free market.

    1. mll says:

      I completely agree Unions have no place in the public sector, but as for the private you forget examples like the auto unions that have driven their companies into financial crisis with outrageous demands like high salaries and early retirement. The unions are out of control and are ruining private business. They once had a worthy cause, but now it’s just greed.

      good thing they have taxpayers to bail them out.

      1. :) says:

        You are right on mll. There was once a time and place for unions, but that has come and gone since greed and political agenda have taken over.

        1. Duh says:

          And you favor the US becoming a Third World Nation – working for “the man” at the lowest possible wage while the corporate machine becomes wealthy at your expense?

          Move to Honduras and work picking bananas. Sounds like it is right up your alley.

          1. :) says:

            Yeah well, probably better then whats been up your alley,,,, Union C%$#

  16. The new Outlaw says:

    Thanks Minnesota for Voting in another Loser. We The People will be doing business under the table and away from your laws.

  17. Number 3 says:

    I thought Pawlenty and nutty Jesse were the worst govenors we had. But Dayton just moved to the top of the list.

  18. Murph says:

    Finally a patriot emerges! Dayton is perhaps the sanest person in this God awful world.You complainers should sit down and contemplate what this country will be like with high booted anti labor fascists in control.Those concentration camps,all 800 hundred of them have been ready since before Bushes departure to give you a new and glorious future! You are nothing more than dog doo doo on their wingtips.No matter what Beck and the oxy fat man drilled into you!Stalin and Hitler were saints compared to what a Republican regime will force upon you.You will sell your cars for a loaf of bread!

    1. Keivn says:

      God..blahh blahh blahh….complainers….blahh blahh blahh….fascists….blahh blahh blahh….concerntration camps…..blahh blahh blahh….bush….blahh blahh blahh… doo doo….blahh blahh blahh…..fat whte men….blahh blahh blahh….santin….blahh blahh blahh……rebpulican regime….blahh blahh blahh…is it just me or does eveyone want to smash this POS head in with a bat????

    2. Cindy says:

      No Murph, it was Obama who implemented cars for dough.

    3. DougT says:

      Himmm – sounds more like what Barry O has in mind for us – after all the Progressives were the Hitlers and Stalins…..

      If you will not drink the Kool-Aid then we will have to send you to the re-education labor camps….

  19. Murph says:

    Who in their right mind would want cheapskate child care?What kind of parents are you people! Leaving your kids in the cheapest,unregulated pig sty,and without the foggiest of who is watching your kids while you work for starvation wages in a Republican fascist ruled society? Wake up and smell the GOP.It sounds like they brainwashed you thru Faux News and Beck s phoney vaudeville! Crazy idiots! Wake up and smell your freedom.Because you won’t get nary a sniff once you install the big oil,big business,big profits crowd as your protectors.They’ve always done such a great job of protecting you in the past…NOT! Don’t bite on moron bait,they’ll just filet you and fry you and yours for dinner at the country freakin club!

    1. DougT says:

      And a union will provide good day care?

      Unions are set up to help …The Unions. They only work for what is best for them – not the children,… please..(see government schools et al)

  20. G Dog says:

    Let them vote. Isn’t that the American way? Or is the American way to preempt a citizen to have a voice in their career, like the Nazi in charge of Wisconsin?

    I cannot believe how many posters are so anti-union. Do you put on knee pads before you go to work? Are you so compliant and weak of character that you kiss the ground that your “boss” walks on? Do you not realize that is your labor that makes them wealthy at your expense?

    Grow a pair.

    1. :) says:

      You grow a pair, homie g dog. I have a great non union job that pays good and has good benefits and I dont have some union cronie looking over my soldier suggesting what is best for me. I am a big boy, I can make up my own mind, I dont need help telling my boss when I need a raise. I do that on my own.

  21. Murph says:

    The government some want to elect will want to staff their internment camps with indoctrinators in the new rule by the rich way of life.just as N.Vietnam did when they took over the south! Yes,the Republicans can learn and teach ,they just can’t live in harmony with a populace who won’t bow to their wishes.But as long as there are kneelers or idiots who can’t see the fascists for the smog !There will be dummies who actually vote themselves into a lifetime of servitude!

  22. Big D says:

    I am confused. If only 50% of the providers take in families that are state subsidized and they are the only ones that can is that democratic?Aren’t all licensed home based providers held to the same state regulations/requirements? The union reps are saying they will have an edge because they are union? Also, a provider enrollment in subsidized verses private families is constantly changing. So if they currently don’t enroll a subsidized family, they can’t vote?

  23. dcmom14 says:

    I am an in home child care provider who does not have any subsidized families. Not because I don’t take them, but because I live in a middle-class area where the income level doesn’t qualify for state aid. Just families working their butts off to make ends meet.

    Because I don’t get a check from the state of Minnesota, I don’t have a voice in this debate? Why do only providers who are paid subsidies get to vote? Why don’t ALL in-home providers who are licensed by the state get a vote? At some point, all legislation and regulation that is ‘collectively bargained’ by this new union will affect ALL licensed providers, not just the subsidized ones. So we all should have a vote, not just the chosen few who, of course, will benefit from unionization.

    Speaking as a taxpayer, the families might not see an increase in childcare but taxpayers will. Subsidy amounts paid to providers will go up…where do you think that money comes from? Governor Dayton? Hell, they are even want to change the Child Care Block Grant to provider ‘diapering supplies’ now. When does it end?

    If this goes through, it will not be long before our licenses will be tied to be being a union member. How long before all child care is state run? Mandatory preschool not a far fetched thought. Another step toward the cradle to grave education system that will eventually put many non-union, non-subsidized, independent providers like me out of business because middle class parents like I serve will have no choice but to go for the cheaper alternative. Much like private schools vs public schools.

    I am outraged by this; approximately 5000 providers will be able to affect the livelihood of the other 6000 because those 6000 have no vote? That’s not my definition of ‘democracy’.

    1. Big D says:

      well put dcmom! excellent in fact. I too am a licensed dc provider and agree with everything you just said… it really has nothing to do with “union” bashing. I think there is a place for it…this isn’t it! I have emailed my state reps…it will be interesting if they reply.

  24. Jake says:

    I know one thing, if I were a child care provider, I would tell the ‘gov’ to shove’ his order where the sun don’t shine, then what is he gonna do??? Throw me in jail? FAT CHANCE. It’s NONE of his BUSINESS, there are far more important issues to deal with in this state, like all lf the WELFARE and the ILLEGAL ALIEN problems, not to mention the fact that it takes 50+ YEARS to engineer, build, and complete Hwy 610 for a mere 20 miles or so, while the Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Mtka, Wayzata can get multiple highway projects done in 10 years or LESS.

  25. Robert says:

    Oh yeah, Teamster Daycare…what a load of garbage. Think you pay a lot for daycare now? Just wait…….

  26. Mark says:


    1. Jake says:

      Ah, NO IT DOESN’T, Mark. America works best when unions stop covering up the BS that loser workers do while on the clock, that other union brothers and sisters have to make up for, so the unions don’t stink like a manure pile, and get ZERO credit for doing so. I’m tired of paying dues, yet seeing losers defended to the bone,
      OVER AND OVER AGAIN, while GOOD WORKERS get the SHAFT, because they don’t have enough ‘seniority’, or they don’t ‘tow the line’. The company doesn’t own me, and the union damn sure doesn’t own me. I always thought that the union was supposed to represent good workers like ME, but I rarely see it. They don’t ask me what I think, what I want, what I think is best for the UNION. WHY IS THAT?

    2. Nancy says:


  27. dcmom 24years says:

    I have been a dc provider for 24 years. I do not wish to be in a union, I have enough people telling me how to run my business without the union sticking their nose in my business. The union watches out for the union and that is it. Not at all fair that only a certain few will be allow to vote. To be fair, ALL providers should be allowed to vote. I think they know that if every provider votes, that it will not be favorable for the union.

    When union reps came to my house they wanted me to sign a card as they said to get information only. In reality, you were signing up to join the union. Very misleading, and dishonest. The union will promise you things that they can’t deliver on such as insurance and higher wages. Once they have your dues, they won’t remember all of their promises to you. The union only watches out for the union. Union supporters wake up.

    1. Gone says:

      You have my full support dcmom

  28. Big D says:

    I have also read that if you don’t vote~ they consider it a “yes” vote. So all the providers out there need to actually cast a ballot and vote “no”. I have been in the business for 22 years. I don’t take state subsidized clients either for the same reason as dcmom14. But I have gotten material on it and it pays more than the average rate and providers get many benefits such as payed days off, etc.This is why some providers only take state subsidized clients. The parents don’t care cause someone else (you and me) is picking up the tab. These providers are not held to any higher standards than the rest of us. The union can demand more $$ for this type of provider but for the average parent to pay those prices out of pocket, they can’t afford it. Those of us that don’t get state subsidy can’t charge those prices. BYW, I haven’t heard back from my reps..hehe

    1. dcmom14 says:

      I agree completely with everything you said.

      Since my assistant is here today, I made a few phone calls to find out what the subsidy rate is for my county (Ramsey). I also asked the number of vacation days allowed and the paid holidays. Unless I had a provider number I could not get any information. I simply wanted to compare the subsidy rate, vacation days and holidays to what I charge. I can’t get a provider number unless I have a client who needs my care. If anyone could answer these questions for me, I would appreciate it.

      I guess I am stuck between a rock and a hard place because I only have clients that make too much to get a subsidy but not enough for one of them to stay home a take care of the kids. Welcome to the middle class.

      And I don’t get a vote.

      1. Bend over taxpayers says:

        I’m sure that info is top secret. During the shutdown, a story was out about a welfare mama and her 8 kids. She was getting $30,000 per year in taxpayer money for daycare.

  29. Jill says:

    “the fairest way and the American way to resolve that dispute is through an election,” Dayton said.

    Great! That means we will be voting on the Vikings stadium.

    Thanks Mark, we know you aren’t a lying hypocrite.

  30. Big D says:

    dcmom14…their policy has changed then because years ago, (maybe 10), I would get info in the mail. As best I can recall a subsidized pay was @.75-1.00 higher per hour. I’ll see what I can do to find out rate of pay.

    1. dcmom14 says:

      When I had subsidized families, the rate was only $25 less/week than what I was charging at the time. The downside was no paid holidays or vacation days for the provider. The families I had could pay out of pocket for those days so it was a non-issue. This was maybe 10 years ago; I just want to compare the rates/benefits to what I charge as a private pay provider.

      I’m a taxpayer as well as a licensed provider; I should be able to get this information just for those reasons alone. Makes you wonder why they don’t want you to know.

  31. Donkey Logic says:

    What if every job was unionized, then where would we be?

    Oh yeah, Cold War Russia.

  32. Gone says:

    Apparently I’m not PC enough to have all of my comments posted here, I am anti union and I am an activist against unions and any other form of thuggery. VOTE NO!!

  33. yonex badminton says:

    I agree with you, but please look at yonex badminton rackets.