by Patricia Guadalupe | December 09, 2011
Just two days before more than 4,300 licensed, in-home child care providers in Minnesota would have started casting their ballots in an historic opportunity to unionize, a St. Paul judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the election.
Judge Dale Lindman responded to a lawsuit filed by the union-busting conservative think tank Freedom Foundation of Minnesota and their Republican cheerleaders in the state legislature, saying that the unionization issue should have gone through the legislature. That would be the same GOP-controlled state House and Senate that cut pay to child care providers and slashed funding for child care programs.
AFSCME Council 5 decried the vote, saying “it could be months” before child care providers get to vote, but adding that it was a temporary setback and the fight continues. “For six years, providers have been fighting for a voice in decisions that affect their profession and we will not give up fighting for Minnesota’s children and their parents,” the council said in its statement.
When Democratic Governor Mark Dayton last month issued an executive order calling for a vote on union representation, he said that while the state is committed to improving the quality, accessibility and affordability of child care services, there has been a “troubling decline” in the number of licensed family child care providers.
Opponents of Gov. Dayton’s action immediately went to work misrepresenting what joining a union would mean for thousands of hard-working child care providers. They didn’t say that union membership was voluntary, that parents wouldn’t pay more, that it would increase the quality of care and help professionalize family child care.
AFSCME members and other activists know the truth, pointing out that 13 other states already recognize the right of child care providers to engage in collective bargaining and have a voice in their workplace. Minnesota should too.
Another court hearing is scheduled for January 17 in St. Paul. Learn more in this video about the fight for child care unionization in Minnesota: