To the editor:
Recently, Governor Dayton signed an Executive Order (EO) directing the Bureau of Mediation Services to conduct a vote amongst Licensed Family Child Care Providers in Minnesota as to whether or not to organize under a union contract. The two unions involved are SEIU and AFSCME with each union organizing according to region.
I am a licensed child care provider from the New Ulm area, but I will not have a vote. The governor has ordered that only those providers who receive payments through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) are eligible to vote in this election.
The EO was issued on Nov. 17. On Nov. 21, at a House hearing in St. Paul, I testified my opposition to unionization and the unfairness of this vote. Ballots will be sent out Dec. 7 and must be received in the St. Paul office by Dec. 21 for counting on Dec. 22. Talk about quick action during a busy time of year!
The governor reasons that if child care providers unionize, it is voluntary and no one will be forced to pay union dues. He argues that providers receiving CCAP payments will have the unions fighting for higher subsidy payments so they should be the ones to vote.
The people of Minnesota are being misled! As a "fair share" state, nothing is voluntary about paying union dues in Minnesota. If a provider receives CCAP payments and chooses not to join the union, Minnesota Fair Share means dues can be taken directly from CCAP payments. CCAP payments are meant to assist families in need; not a means of income for a provider or as payment to a union!
Unionization will affect all licensed providers, not just those receiving CCAP payments. Section 4 of the EO states that unions will have the right to meet and confer with DHS on issues such as standards of care, education, licensing regulations, quality rating systems, reimbursement rates, changes to the state system of providing early education services and evaluating family child care providers. These issues affect ALL licensed providers in Minnesota.
How unfair is this vote? Of 11,000 licensed family child care providers in Minnesota, only 4,287 meet the criteria of accepting CCAP payments. Essentially, 1/3 of the population is making a decision for the whole. This is unfair, dirty politics.
This vote affects you! From where is the money for raised subsidy payments going to come? How is your child care provider going to pay for changes to meet new licensing or rating requirements? You will pay for that!
If you are a provider who receives a ballot, make it a priority to complete and return it immediately. Voice your concerns to your congressperson and governor. Talk to other providers and to families; get them involved in this discussion.
You may direct questions to me, Dinah Spurgin, at 507-276-0356 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the websites: www.childcareunioninfo.com and www.childcarefreedom.com . Join the Facebook page, Child Care Providers Who are Happy to be Union Free.