By Rep. Joe McDonald
Gov. Mark Dayton’s executive order calling for a vote on whether to unionize private, in-home licensed childcare providers in Minnesota is sickening.
Thank goodness a Ramsey County judge wisely issued a temporary restraining order to suspend the election. The judge rightly expressed concerns over the way the voting process was taking place. Notably, he said the issue would be better served in the legislative process. The judge also did not approve of the governor only allowing 40 percent of our daycare providers to vote on the matter.
Unionizing daycares would increase costs for families, wrap our small businesses in even more red tape and put government’s nose in yet another place it does not belong. This is a new economic era and our focus should be on efforts to ease the financial burdens on struggling families, not looking to impose union representation on small-business owners.
Childcare costs already are unbearable for some Minnesota families. How much higher will they get if unionization occurs? In Illinois, rates jumped as much as 35 percent since the first year of its union contract in 2006. Both Maryland and Illinois saw a drop in the number of licensed child care providers after unionizing. Finding child care will be made more difficult ad choices dwindle, particularly outside of the metro area.
The way this vote is set to take place is disturbing in itself, since the governor’s executive order limits voting rights to the 4,200 or so 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.
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. All the while, your daycare costs will increase as dues and fees cut into the provider’s bottom line.
Parents should be dismayed if decisions regarding the care of their children suddenly were placed in the hands of a union. My wife and I know what is best for our children and we parents, along with a daycare provider, should have the right to make very personal decisions as we see fit.
As a small-business owner myself, I would be furious if a governor would directly or indirectly force my business to join a union against my will. I would see no value whatsoever for my family business to join a union or pay fair-share fees.
To me, this agenda is nothing more than a union-led money-grab. If the union is successful with unionizing daycare providers, then what's next? Farmers, chiropractors, filling stations, restaurants and photographers?
I have received hundreds of emails from daycare providers and others who are speaking out against unionizing. I encourage local citizens to join us in expressing our opposition. Contact a local childcare provider to let them know your opinion. This issue will be re-evaluated with additional hearings to take place starting Jan. 15.