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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dean Urdahl (R)

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Slippery slope on daycare unionization

Monday, November 28, 2011
To the editor, Gov. Mark Dayton recently issued an executive order, calling for a vote to unionize private, independent at-home childcare providers. This is a very slippery slope. Passage likely would increase daycare costs at a time the recession already has strapped bank accounts. It also would allow unions to decide what's best for our children instead of keeping those responsibilities with parents and providers. I also have serious concerns about how the vote itself is going to be conducted. The governor’s order limits voting rights to the 4,287 licensed in-home child care providers who receive state subsidies. The approximately 7,000 licensed in-home childcare providers who do not take state subsidies will not have a voice in this matter. That means a 40-percent minority will be casting votes that could impact the entire industry and the parents who use childcare services. At the very least, all 11,000 providers should be able to cast a vote. Childcare is a personal decision that should be based on what parents feel will be best for their children. It is hard to see how daycare unionization and additional bureaucracy would improve the care our children receive, or make our children safer while receiving care. The overwhelming majority of daycare providers already do an outstanding job and a recent KSTP poll found citizens overwhelmingly oppose unionizing these providers. This initiative seems to be a top-down push by unions seeking to get their hands in yet another stream of revenue. The governor indicates his order does not make daycare providers state employees, but we should be wary since the precedent already has been set: Michigan’s governor eventually classified that state’s daycare providers as public employees after they unionized. This directly conflicts with our need to reel-in state spending as we face continual budget shortfalls and attempt to put our state on a better fiscal path. We should be focusing on reducing government growth, not finding new ways to spend even more of our tax dollars through government overreach. The unionization vote will take place in December. Please continue contacting me with input in this issue and let your childcare provider know where you stand. Sincerely, Rep. Dean Urdahl
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