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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen (R)

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Judge appropriately halts daycare vote

Friday, December 9, 2011
To the editor, I am pleased to report a Ramsey County judge has placed a restraining order on a vote to unionize in-home daycare providers in our state. He shares concerns many of us have expressed. Gov. Mark Dayton recently issued an executive order, calling for a vote to unionize private, independent at-home childcare providers. This could result in higher daycare expenses and allow unions to decide what is best for our children. The election was set to take place this month, but a Ramsey County Judge took issue with two key factors: First, this initiative should receive due consideration and thorough discussion in the legislative process instead of circumventing the system through our governor’s order. Furthermore, there are more than 11,000 providers in Minnesota, but the governor would only allow fewer than 4,300 to vote. It is troubling to think a vote which could turn the daycare industry upside down would be pushed through with such little transparency. Parents, legislators from both parties and many daycare providers themselves oppose this initiative. An overwhelming 80 percent of the respondents in a KSTP poll are against unionized daycare and their reasons are plentiful. Illinois unionized daycare providers and rates parents pay have spiked as much as 35 percent since 2006. Even if a daycare provider does not join the union, fair-share fees could be imposed on them. Also, a simple rulemaking procedure in existence at the Department of Human Services could extend unionization to the entire industry. The governor claims his order does not make daycare providers state employees, but we should be wary. Michigan classified their daycare providers as public employees after they unionized. The Legislature has just begun making inroads in curbing government growth to put our state on a more fiscally responsible course, but this proposal would have government sticking its nose in yet another place it does not belong. The judge’s restraining order is temporary and a hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16 to re-evaluate this initiative. Please continue to join me in voicing your disapproval of this proposal. For additional information please visit www.childcareunioninfo.com and www.childcarefreedom.com. Sincerely, Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen
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