Child care providers need to do their research on unions, legislation

To the editor:

Minnesota Family Child Care Providers are once again fighting against the effort to unionize their small businesses. Two new bills, House Bill HF 950 and Senate Bill SF 778, were introduced Feb. 25.

I urge providers to research the bills. Talk to the parents in your child care, your friends, family and neighbors and get their support. Have them contact the Legislature as well.

“This bill will allow unions to represent you and your business, even if you don’t want them to. This bill also denies providers the right to a secret ballot election if the union collects more than 50 percent of the union authorization cards they have been collecting. It is unclear if they will be allowed to use the cards collected as far back as seven years ago. If the union is unable to collect the majority, they can present 30 percent of the cards and a secret ballot election will be ordered. The only providers allowed to vote would be licensed and unlicensed providers who have received a payment from the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) in 12 months prior to the election. This would eliminate at least two thirds of the licensed professionals. The number of unlicensed providers far outnumbers the licensed professionals so even if every licensed provider votes no, the unlicensed providers could still tip the election in the unions favor.”

There will be fees associated with a union. These fees will be garnished from subsidy payments if you care for families using CCAP. If you decide not to join the union there is a “Fair Share” fee that will also be taken from any subsidy pay you receive. It is time to get the word out, before providers innocently sign cards they are told are for more information, but are really agreement for a union.

I also urge small business owners to do their research and contact the Legislature. They need to hear from all of us. One important thing I want to pass on, the wording in the bill: Subd. 2. Employer of record. For the purposes of chapter 179A, the state is the public employer of record for family child care providers. If they are able to get that wording passed, how long will other small businesses be safe from being forced to unionize and having the state as their employer?

Jen Shaffer

Sole Proprietor

Footsteps In Growing Daycare