St. Paul, MN—In response to the results of Tuesday's personal care attendant SEIU union election, Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, issued the following statement:
"While I support the free association rights for those who wish to join a union, government has no business making private, independent care providers employees of the state," Gruenhagen said. "This was a flawed process from the start, held in the middle of summer giving opponents little time to mobilize against the union bosses seeking to siphon money from hardworking moms, dads, and other caretakers to fund their political campaigns. Moreover, it's simply outrageous that Governor Dayton forbid any neutral observers or opponents of the unionization process to witness the ballot counting.
Gruenhagen also expressed concern that the SEIU, which will be the exclusive representative of more than 27,000 personal care attendants throughout Minnesota, will find loopholes and alternative ways to extract money from these careworkers through mandated training sessions, and other potential burdens on careworkers as they negotiate with the state on their behalf. Due to the Harris vs. Quinn Supreme Court Decision union dues will not be mandatory.
"SEIU has an obligation to look out for the interests of these caretakers, and these caretakers alone—not to find ways to line their pockets and advance SEIU's agenda. I hope they will act in good faith, and keep in mind that a vast majority of caretakers simply wish for the union to stay out of their way and out of their pocketbooks. The government and SEIU should refrain from placing extra burdens, financial or otherwise, on these providers, and allow parents and caretakers to continue providing exceptional care for Minnesota's most vulnerable." Gruenhagnen concluded.
Authorization for the childcare and personal care attendant unionization elections was approved by the Democrat-controlled legislature, and signed into law by Governor Dayton. All Republicans and five Democrats voted against the measure, which passed by just a single vote. The unionization effort has been met with ongoing opposition and has been the subject of numerous lawsuits filed by grassroots childcare providers and personal care attendants, and is likely to face further legal challenges moving forward.