It's snowing down in Saint Paul yet again today. Just when you thought spring was finally here, Mother Nature gives us a great reminder that it is still Minnesota, where it can be 80 degrees one day and 30 degrees and snowy the next. The good news is that Spring activities are still moving forward: baseball games, track meets, school plays and musicals, and gardening.
I wanted to update you on one of the pieces of legislation that is expected to come to the floor either next week or the week after. It's a bill that proposes to unionize day care providers. It's a troubling proposal because unlike a normal union where workers unionize to negotiate with an employer, it seeks to unionize the small-business owners themselves. If this legislation passes, any day care provider that accepts state subsidy money would be forced to join the union or pay the mandatory 'fair share' fee.
Proponents claim that it will improve working conditions and allow providers to negotiate better reimbursement rates from the state. Remember, these are small businesses who generally operate out of their own homes and therefore set their own working conditions. As for reimbursement rates, these rates are set at the State Legislature and based on budget and need.
More troubling is the fact that nearly a third of the union dues collected would go to the national union in Washington D.C. We should not be requiring day care providers to be spending their money intended for our children and sending it to a national union organization in Washington.
Please understand, I do believe in the right of workers to unionize; however, this bill will affect small business owners. This is an unprecedented intrusion into small businesses. Furthermore, despite overwhelming testimony and vocal opposition from the daycare providers around the state, the majority has pushed this issue through committee, often times stifling testimony and limiting discussion.
Are you a day care worker? I want to hear from you what you think. Please send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 651-296-4247.
This week marked the beginning of the conference committee process. Members of the House and Senate will be meeting over the next several days to work out the differences between the budget bills passed in both chambers. Once their work is complete, an identical bill known as a conference committee report for each budget area will be sent back to each body to be accepted or rejected.
If the conference reports are adopted, which takes a majority vote, we would vote on final passage. If both bodies accept the conference reports and pass the final bills, they will be sent to the Governor's desk for approval.
Have a great weekend,