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Unions are improving child care elsewhere, and will here too

It’s easy to listen to fear with something new, but understanding the whole story will show the incredible opportunity this is for child care.

A union for family child-care providers may be a relatively new idea, but it is improving the industry in other states and it’ll do the same in Minnesota. There should be no decisions made about us without us being at the table. It’s easy to listen to fear with something new, but understanding the whole story will show the incredible opportunity this is for child care.

If Minnesota child-care providers choose to unionize, they will have the same control they have right now to set their rates however they choose. A provider’s rate is between the parent and the provider.

We remain self-employed whether we have a union or not. It is forbidden for a union to control what providers charge for their services. Providing high-quality care is expensive, and so are our business expenses. But unlike most expenses, having a union is an investment that will benefit our lives and the family child-care industry.

Many opponents of the legislation have made claims that are just flat out wrong. The bill allows collective bargaining for child-care providers. Laws allowing unions for other workers and industries were hard fought over the past 100 years. We now have the same right to vote on whether or not we want a union, just like others who work for a living. A union election is a democratic process that honors the wishes of the majority, and we are very grateful to the Minnesota legislators for believing that we can and should decide for ourselves.

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Lisa Thompson is the president of Child Care Providers Together, a local union affiliated with AFSCME Council 5.

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