DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s Republican challenger is accusing him of “messing with the livelihood” of the state-subsidized child care providers who oppose joining a union.
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson said during a news conference today that Dayton’s support of efforts to organize those providers is political payback to the labor unions that helped get him elected in 2010. He singled out the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Standing with a group of anti-union child care providers outside of the building that houses the governor’s temporary office, Johnson described the alleged payback as “wrong” and “un-Minnesotan.”
“I happen to believe any political payback is wrong,” Johnson said. “But I think this one is worse than a lot of them we see, because it is done at the expense of hardworking business men and women, and at the expense of the parents and children that use in-home child care providers in this state.”
Johnson, who has also criticized Dayton’s relationship with the statewide teachers’ union, said he does not consider himself anti-union. He said he believes unions have too much power in the current administration.
In response to Johnson, a spokesman for Dayton’s re-election campaign said the governor supports giving child care providers the chance to hold an election and decide for themselves whether to form a union.
Dayton signed legislation in 2013 that allowed for union elections among child care providers and personal care assistants.
Child care providers have not yet held a vote. PCAs approved the formation of a union last month.
In response to Johnson, AFSCME Council 5 spokeswoman Jennifer Munt said there’s nothing unique about backing a candidate who supports collective bargaining.
“We ask all candidates who screen with us if they support the right of all workers to collectively bargain,” Munt said. “That is a fundamental union value, and only candidates who support that value get our endorsement.”
Munt said that following Johnson’s news conference, Gov. Dayton agreed to address AFSCME members at their annual convention, Saturday in Bloomington.