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.