Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Unionization of child care. Follow the money.

Governor Dayton issued an order for a vote of child care providers on whether they want to unionize. State Senators say the action is clearly illegal because state law gives the governor no such authority.

The state's largest unions have been pushing for this for some time, because it will expand their power and financial resources.
Two of the state's largest unions, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and Service Employees International Union, have spent years attempting to unionize child care workers and now will launch a full-blown persuasion campaign that could be met by legal action from opponents.

Dayton's executive order stops well short of the mandated unionization that some governors have ordered and which unions here sought. Nevertheless, it touched off strong reactions among Senate Republicans.
Beyond being an effort to further politicize the raising of young children, it's arguably a violation of state law.
"There is nothing in Minnesota law that provides the governor with the power to do the things he says he is going to do," said Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie.

"The real question for us is: What do you do with a governor who won't follow the law? ... We are going to do everything in our power to make sure he is not able to proceed. We think it's against the law."

Dayton said that even if child care workers vote to unionize, those who don't wish to belong will be able to opt out. Union membership would be voluntary, he said, and no one would be forced to pay dues.
What's interesting in the story is Dayton says a yes vote only allows the unions to "meet and confer" with state officials and "would not usurp the legislature's power". Why do they want the power to just meet? I'm told it will mean lots of money added to their coffers.
But Dayton and administration officials say a yes vote would simply give AFSCME nd SEIU the right to represent those workers in meetings with state agencies. The unions would be allowed only to "meet and confer" with state officials and would usurp the Legislature's power of the purse, they said.
Who would vote? Those receiving government monies. Another example of government strings attached to receiving tax dollars.
Of the state's 11,000 licensed child care workers, only 4,300 are registered to accept children whose families receive child care subsidies. That means the election will be open to fewer than half the child care workers in the state.

Dayton said his executive order will not affect any child care providers that do not take state subsidies because "they are operating their own businesses outside the realm of government."

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