Child Care Unionization Not Favored by All

Posted at: 10/14/2011 6:41 PM | Updated at: 10/14/2011 10:58 PM
By: Paige Calhoun

"It doesn't feel quite fair or right," Heather Falk of Cloquet has been a successful licensed child care provider for ten years, but she's concerned that efforts to unionize the industry could change that. She heard Governor Dayton on Minnesota Public Radio Tuesday, stating he would make a decision on unionizing within the next few weeks.

Just an hour-and-a-half later, Falk and other child care providers wrote a letter to Governor Dayton with 124 signatures requesting an in-person meeting. That meeting hasn't happened yet, but the concerns are still there.

Under Minnesota's Fair Share Law, providers wouldn't be required to join the union, but they would have to contribute to union dues. On average that adds up to about $300 dollars a year. Money Falk said she would rather spend on the kids, "$300 dollars could be a new swing set for the kids and since I'm capable of running my business without union backing or support, $300 dollars feels like it would be thrown away."

Providers in support of the unionization effort said it will give them more respect, a voice in licensing and subsidy debates and could offer other benefits like group health care.

But Falk said that's hard for her to get behind because none of that is guaranteed until contracts are in place, "I can't run my business on uncertainties."

Governor Dayton's Chief of Staff thanked Falk and the other providers for their letter and said she would get back to them.

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