Minnesota: Council 5 on the Move
Ramsey County is a focal point for Council 5's drive to organize child care providers, and the Twin Cities' substantial Hmong population is prominently represented in that profession. Judy Massey (left), vice president of the county's day care local, and organizer Chao Fang visited provider Joane Lo in St. Paul to tell her about the campaign and the benefits of joining Child Care Providers Together/AFSCME. Many of the organizers are themselves providers, so they walk the walk as well as talk the talk. So far, more than half of Ramsey County's 860 licensed providers have signed cards saying they want to become members. Says provider Donna Thompson, "We're isolated, and we work long hours for low pay. Our new union will give us a unified voice and clout at the capitol." Meanwhile, the council has taken billboard space along interstate highways and run TV ads to emphasize the value of public employees and the services we provide.