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Gov. Mark Dayton recently issued an executive order, calling for a vote to unionize all private, independent at-home childcare providers. This should be cause for significant concern.
First of all, passage likely would increase daycare costs at a time the recession already has many parents feeling pinched. In Illinois alone, child care rates jumped as much as 35 percent since the first year of its contract in 2006. Substantial rate increases occurred in at least seven of the unionized daycare states.
We also should have immense concerns about how the vote itself is going to be conducted because a small minority will be making a unionization decision that will impact an entire industry and the parents who rely on it. There are approximately 11,000 daycare providers in Minnesota, but the governorís order limits this vote to the roughly 4,200 licensed in-home child care providers who receive state subsidies. The 7,000 licensed in-home childcare providers who do not take state subsidies will be without a voice. At the very least, all 11,000 providers should have a voice in this vote.
Childcare is an area where parents should have the responsibility to make decisions based on what they feel will be best for their children. Our daycare providers already do an outstanding job and a recent KSTP poll found citizens overwhelmingly oppose unionizing these providers. It is hard to comprehend how daycare unionization and extra layers of bureaucracy would improve the care for our children.
The governor indicates his order does not make daycare providers state employees, but the precedent already has been set elsewhere. Michiganís governor classified that stateís daycare providers as public employees after they unionized. Even if your daycare provider does not join the union, nothing prohibits the union from instituting fair share fees on non-union providers. A simple rulemaking procedure in existence at the Department of Human Services could also extend unionization to the entire industry.
Even if your daycare provider does not join the union, nothing prohibits the union from instituting fair share fees on non-union providers. I have authored a bill to ensure child care assistance money the state provides is applied to the care of children instead of being diverted to unions.
Unionizing daycare simply appears to be a union attempt to tap into another taxpayer revenue stream through government overreach. This, at a time we just dealt with a $5 billion budget shortfall and are trying to build a more sustainable model of government. We must keep our focus on reducing government growth instead of pushing for programs that will cost us even more money and cover new areas in red tape.
The vote on whether to unionize will take place in early December. Please continue contacting your elected officials with input in this issue and let your childcare provider know where you stand on this issue. I always welcome your emails and you can click here to reach Gov. Dayton.
A rally will take place noon to 1 p.m. Saturday Dec. 3 in the Capitol rotunda. This is a place for folks to come and show their opposition to the unionization of daycare.
While we pause with family and friends tomorrow to reflect on our many blessings, let us not forget to give thanks for the freedom and opportunity we have to live in this great nation. While much of the daily news focuses on our many challenges, we are reminded of the exceptional state and nation we are blessed to call home.
Let us also remember to pray for wisdom for all of our leaders. While we may sometimes disagree, we remain devoted to this great land and the bountiful blessings it bestows upon us daily.
Happy Thanksgiving! It is truly and honor and privilege to serve as your state representative.
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