Governor orders union vote for state-subsidized child-care workers

By John Michaelson
Minnesota News Connection

Some of Minnesota’s child-care workers will have a chance to unionize.

Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday ordered that balloting take place within the next two months. Those who will weigh in are licensed and state-subsidized providers such as Lisa Thompson of St. Paul.

“By joining together, we’ll be empowered and have a voice on the regulations that come down from the state. The way that the current system is, we have a limited impact on the changes that impact our business.”

Thompson says the child-care industry is one of the most regulated in the state, so a united voice is needed.

“Having control over the cost of training, the licensing fees. Getting a group rate on health insurance. Those are the kinds of things that we can have input on and impact on to control our bottom line without burdening working families to pay more for their child care.”

Those opposed to the unionization, including many GOP state lawmakers, say it will mean higher child-care rates as providers pass on the cost of union dues to the parents.    Ballots will be mailed to the roughly 5,300 providers in the state who are eligible. If a union is approved, membership will be voluntary.

Dayton’s order and a fact sheet are online at mn.gov.

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