The proposal to create a union for in-home child-care workers was discussed Monday at legislative hearings in St. Cloud and Rochester. There were both supporters and critics at both places.
Supporters of the effort say such a union could enable the 11,000 licensed in-home providers in Minnesota to negotiate with state officials on issues such as state child care subsidies or regulation of providers. Critics say a union could drive up the cost of child care and give providers less say on how to run their businesses.
Some also complained of heavy-handed tactics they said were employed by union organizers to sway providers.
Those pushing the effort say Gov. Mark Dayton can recognize a union for the child care workers by issuing an executive decree, but he says he’ll wait until there’s a union authorization vote. Republicans in the state House say an executive decree isn’t enough and that it will take legislative action.
Karla Scapanski of Sauk Rapids said she hopes she could unite with others to buy cheaper health coverage, which would then allow her to lower her rates.
But Heather Falk of Cloquet isn’t sold; she said she believes that unions haven’t helped day care providers in other states, and doesn’t want to pay dues. “I’m capable of running my business without the help of a union,” Falk told lawmakers.