Unionization bill heads to MN House floor

Legislation to allow for the unionization of in-home child care providers and personal care assistants cleared its final Minnesota House committee tonight, and is headed for a floor vote.

The Ways and Means Committee voted 17-14 in favor of the bill. The two organizing efforts began this session as separate measures but were later combined into one. Under the bill, both groups could decide to join unions and then engage in collective bargaining with the state for higher subsidies.

Rep. Sarah Anderson, R-Plymouth, objected to the possibility of tax dollars being used to pay union dues.

“I have a lot of constituents that care for their children, care for their parents, other relatives,” Anderson said. “Their biggest concern to me is the money, the precious dollars they get to care for their relative now is going to go to a union, and basically you’re unionizing them against their own relative.”

But supporters of the bill disagreed. Rep.Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, said the providers would be spending their money.

“They’re using their wages. They’re not using taxpayers dollars,” Mahoney said. “They’ve actually gone to work, they’ve cared for that person or that child, and they’ve earned their wages. They can go out and spend it on groceries. They can spend it on car payments. They can spend it on union dues.”

AFSCME Council 5 is trying to organize providers who work with low-income families in the state’s Child Care Assistance Program, while SEIU is aligned with PCAs who care for the elderly and disabled.

A companion bill is awaiting action in the Senate Finance Committee.

  • Carrie Speikers

    THANK YOU Rep Tim Mahoney…Glad to know that you feel that working families, who choose to provide a professional, quality child care service for otherr working families, can spend our hard earned money on “groceries…, car payments…, or union dues” As a mother with five kids…union dues are not on my priority list!!!! Furthermore, as a small business owner I SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO JOIN A UNION!!!!!!

    (From Article)

    But supporters of the bill disagreed. Rep.Tim Mahoney, DFL-St. Paul, said the providers would be spending their money.

    “They’re using their wages. They’re not using taxpayers dollars,” Mahoney said. “They’ve actually gone to work, they’ve cared for that person or that child, and they’ve earned their wages. They can go out and spend it on groceries. They can spend it on car payments. They can spend it on union dues.”

  • http://www.HappeeHollee.com Hollee Saville

    I’m sorry that Rep. Mahoney feels the need to lie about this bill to convince people that it’s not unconstitutional and illegal. The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) subsidy checks are REIMBURSEMENTS for providers, not wages, so please stop trying to read from the AFSCME manual about how to trick the public into perceiving us as employees. The program is a benefit for FAMILIES, no providers. It comes from taxpayers, so, YES, they are from tax dollars! And providers would NOT be given a choice of whether or not to pay the union because all family childcare providers who accept CCAP would be FORCED to pay AFSCME through union dues or fair share fees. The bills, AFSCME, and legislators hesitantly admitted this.

    The Senate Finance Committee is meeting at 8:30 this morning in Room 123 of the Capitol to force this on us WITH NO NOTICE! If they have nothing to hide and it’s so great for everyone, why do they have to resort to last-minute agenda additions?

    Here are some REAL facts about the issue that we would love MPR to research/report on:

    • Licensed Family Child Care Providers have fought against this for the past 8 years and overwhelmingly showed that they are against child care unionization. Why are legislators and AFSCME not listening to us?!

    • Providers already have a choice to join the union now and only 57 people (some paid by AFSCME) out of more than 11,000 licensed family child care providers have done so.

    • 1st & 14th Amendment violations. The things the union wants to negotiate with the state about will affect all providers, not just the union members, not just the providers with kids in CCAP subsidies. Union membership is voluntary; however, union representation is not voluntary. The rights of individuals should not be trampled on simply because a few (or even a majority) want something.

    • We are independent, self-employed, small business owners. What makes us different than a grocery store that takes food stamps, an independent construction worker who takes a government bid, or chiropractors, doctors, or dentists who accept government health care?

    • Including unlicensed providers is ridiculous as they do not have to follow licensing rules. AFSCME knows this is the only possible way they could get the numbers and money they want.

    • This bill would allow 10% of ALL providers to force unionization on all of us; we know the unions make sure the elections go in their favor. 50% of all ballots cast (not even a majority) would mean unionization.

    • Creates conflicts of interest – The union would represent providers and the state employees they’d bargain with on behalf of the providers.

    • What if the employees of childcare providers want to join a union? Federal law explicitly prohibits employers, independent contractors, and domestic workers from unionizing.

    • We already have state, city, and county child care associations that work solely for licensed family childcare providers and the families they serve. Membership is voluntary and normally only $35/year.

    • Legislators already have the power to change the CCAP. However, when subsidy rates are locked in, cuts to the program cannot be made by reducing rates; cutbacks must come from somewhere else. This has resulted in families losing their assistance after budget cuts. Since the first child care union was formed in 2005, unions have siphoned tens of millions of dollars from the child care assistance programs, even as many of those programs faced funding reductions. They would take $4 million per year from children and families who need it the most!

    • Unionization will raise the cost of childcare for everyone.

    • Providers in Illinois pay up to $900/year…providers have to pass that cost onto families.

    • In New York, they pay $400-$700/year; the subsidy rate has not increased, though!

    • The average is $300/year in the states with childcare unions.

    • Every day, we make positive differences in the lives of Minnesota’s families, all without a union. We set our own rates, hours, policies, and working conditions We have been working with children without a union for years (many for more than 20 years) and will continue to give children the best possible care without a union.

  • Randy Olson

    WOW! Rep. Tim Mahoney what a fool!!! Oh boy let’s tell him how it really is.

  • Patrick Sauer

    Is it not a violation of the 1st Amendment to “mandate assembly?”

    STOP telling us it is a right, because the right already exists.

  • noni gillham

    Be sure to vote the whole group out …..

  • Todd Wood

    Hollee Saville, I applaud you!