Minnesotans Don’t Want Forced Dues for Caregivers

It’s no wonder 46% of Minnesotans don’t want day care unionized.  Parents, grandmothers, care givers do not want to pay dues to a labor union in order to get or keep a job any more than anyone else would.  And the people of Minnesota don’t want it either.  Jim Ragsdale has the story in the Star Tribune.

The new law allows care providers to unionize. A total of 46 percent of those polled disagree with the decision, while 41 percent support it and 13 percent are unsure.

A hard-fought decision by the DFL-controlled Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to allow in-home child-care providers and personal care attendants to unionize is proving less than popular with Minnesotans, a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found.

A total of 46 percent of those polled disagree with the decision, while 41 percent support it and 13 percent are unsure.

That degree of volatility around the issue indicates that it could figure into races in competitive legislative districts as the GOP seeks to recapture the House in 2014.

The Minnesota Poll found that 77 percent of those who identify as Republicans oppose the idea, while 66 percent of DFLers favor it. Independents tend to be opposed, 55 to 35 percent.

About 57 percent of Hennepin and Ramsey county residents support giving child care and home health providers the chance to vote on unionizing, but suburban residents reject it, 53-34 percent. Outstate residents oppose it by 47-34 percent, although nearly one in five are undecided. Men oppose it by 57-36 percent, while women supported it 46-37 percent.

The bill allows licensed and unlicensed child care providers who care for children receiving state subsidies and certain personal care assistants to vote on whether to unionize. There are currently about 12,700 child care providers in that category, and an estimated 9,000 personal care attendants who would be affected.

The unions would have to obtain signed cards from 30 percent of the affected workers in each case to produce an election, which would be conducted by the state’s Bureau of Mediation Services. If an election were to succeed, the workers would be classified as executive branch employees for the purpose of negotiating with the state, but would not have the right to strike.

The bill was bitterly opposed by the GOP minority, who derided it as a blatant payoff to two groups that contributed heavily to win DFL majorities in the House and Senate in 2012. It was supported by DFLers as a way of improving training and state subsidies for care, as well as giving the groups a “seat at the table” in funding decisions at the Capitol.

The Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association has said all licensed providers should be allowed to vote because subsequent negotiations could affect everyone, whether they are in the union or not. That is one of the issues raised in two lawsuits opponents have filed to block the union elections.