Bakk throws cold water on some union initiatives

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, is throwing some cold water on some of the union-backed initiatives at the State Legislature.

Bakk told a forum at the University of Minnesota’s s Humphrey School today that it will be difficult to pass legislation that would give a two-year unemployment extension for locked out workers, a minimum wage increase that tops $10 an hour and a measure that allows at-home child care workers to unionize. Bakk, a retired union carpenter, said some union leaders told him over the weekend that they’re not happy with him.

“My union card is 37 years old,” Bakk said. “There are things you can do and things you can’t get done.”

Bakk also said the Senate will not take up a bill that would require labor peace agreements between building developers and union groups that deal with buildings funded, in part, by taxpayer dollars. He said local governments, not the state, should decide the matter.

On the minimum wage issue Bakk said he expects an increase will pass into law this session but it will not be as high as the labor backed $10.55 an hour (or even the House plan that increases the minimum wage to $9.85 an hour).

“Something is going to happen on the minimum wage. I just don’t know what the number is,” he said.

Bakk said it’s been a challenge to manage the expectations of labor groups. He said they were disappointed that the House and Senate are proposing to trim $150 million in Health and Human Services spending.

Union leaders have been optimistic that they could pass several initiatives this session. That measure included a nurse-staffing requirement , a minimum wage hike and allowing at-home child care workers and personal care attendants to join a union.

  • Roni

    The bill wouldn’t “allow” childcare providers to unionize. They’re already allowed. The bill would REQUIRE them to unionize. One word makes a huge difference.

  • Mary Larson

    The bill does not require anyone to unionize. It would allow childcare providers receiving state childcare assistance funds to have a union election under Public Employee Labor Relations Act. The providers would then vote on whether or not to join the union. I think you got some misinformation somewhere. I have attended many of the hearings. Why shouldn’t providers have the right to vote on this?

  • Cyndi Cunningham

    Changing our employment status from self-employed to “employee of the state of MN” for this purpose is wrong. If that was/is allowed, then not letting all those affected to vote is wrong. Unionizing an industry soley on their status of conducting business with families who receive a welfare program, is wrong. Grouping licensed and unlicensed providers is wrong, it is akin to licensed teachers and para professionals to bargain gother. “Allowing to vote” is simplistic and misguided. We wont be “forced” to unionize. However, if we want to conduct business with those receiving this welfare benefit, we will have to pay fair-share dues. AFSCME is the only clear benefactor – aprox. 2.5 million per year. Unionions – 2.5 mill; welfare/providers – 0 Wrong.

  • Cyndi Cunningham

    Changing our employment status from self-employed to “employee of the state of MN” for this purpose is wrong. If that was/is allowed, then not letting all those affected to vote is wrong. Unionizing an industry solely on their status of conducting business with families who receive a welfare program, is wrong. Grouping licensed and unlicensed providers is wrong, it is akin to licensed teachers and para professionals to bargain together. “Allowing to vote” is simplistic and misguided. We wont be “forced” to unionize. However, if we want to conduct business with those receiving this welfare benefit, we will have to pay fair-share dues. AFSCME is the only clear benefactor – approx.. 2.5 million per year. Unions – 2.5 mill; welfare/providers – 0 Wrong.

  • Rozanne Powers

    This bill isn’t necessary!! Childcare providers already are able to join a union. A whole whopping 57 out of 11,000 think it’s a good idea. The rest of us know it’s ridiculous to think that anything will come of this other than paying union dues if we join to allow us to care for CCAP low-income children. We’d be required to pay fair-share dues if we won’t join the union and care for these kids. The other alternative is refuse to care for these kids. Is that fair? The union and government know licensed providers don’t want this, therefore they are adding unlicensed providers and Personal Care Assistance in the vote if we need the union. Why would self-employed people need a union? We can’t strike for fair wages, we won’t get any insurance or retirement benefits, etc. The states that forced this on their providers have not given them increased subsidies or benefits, just dues!! Why would this be good????????

  • Randy Olson

    Mary Larson, you’re misleading everyone with what you say. The bill does not allow ALL licensed child care business owners to vote, and secondly…it allows fair share dues to be charged to non-union members. It also removes the voices of non-union members from the licensing discussions between the state and the child care field, due to it giving AFSCME the FULL right to bargain on behalf of all child care providers in Minnesota.

    It’s flawed from the start – why on earth, Mary, do you think it’s facing trouble in a DFL-controlled Senate???

  • Alison Kelly

    Again, to back up what Mary Larson said- the bill allows the providers to vote if they want a union. If so many do not want it as some of you say, then they will have the opportunity to vote no, those who are in support will vote yes. The PEOPLE will decide rather than politicians.

    If you are so confident that it is a bad idea and think the majority agrees with you, then allow the vote and your opinion will prevail.

    The number 57 is incorrect Rozanne Powers, I suggest you check your sources.

  • Randy Olson

    Alison, the number 57 was printed in a December 2012 newsletter by AFSCME. Are they lying?

    Alison, why is AFSMCE so afraid to let all licensed child care providers vote?

    Alison, do you have any clue to how the child care field operates? Do you have any clue that some child care providers can go a year or more without a CCAP-enrolled family and then all of a sudden they can have them at their door out of the blue?

    It is a gross breach of justice to not allow all licensed child care business owners to vote. That is why this is so flawed from the start.

  • Randy Olson

    So, Alison, by ALL means, let the people vote. Send ballots to all licensed child care business owners. The state knows who they are – let them vote!!!!!

    Don’t trample on democracy!!! This is not Russia for God’s sake!!