Minnesota to Unionize Child Care

Despite a legally tenuous Executive Order, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is about to call a vote to unionize child care providers despite allegedly excluding a majority of child care providers from the voting process, writes Trey Kovacs at Open Market.

As reported by ChildCareFreedom.com, “Governor Dayton reportedly made a promise to union leaders to sign the executive order in exchange for their support in the last election,” however, as child care providers are independent small business owners, they would not even subject to collective bargaining arrangements.

To unionize a class of workers, Minnesota’s Labor Relations Act calls for a majority of workers to vote for union representation, but out of 11,000 child care providers, less than 4,300 are eligible to vote.

With Minnesota’s forced-unionism, it’s unclear if the 6,000-plus child care providers ineligible to vote will be forced to pay their “fair share” dues to the unions.

But Kovacs speculates that given Gov. Dayton’s history of union favoritism: “[T]here is little doubt compulsory dues will be forced on all child care providers.”

Executive Order 11-31 describes child care providers as “invaluable services to working parents and guardians… and are particularly well-suited to meet families’ needs, by providing flexible hours and schedules… the State is committed to improving the quality, accessibility, and affordability of early childhood education services.”

And Kovacs points out that allowing unionization of child care providers contradicts this. He points out that a well documented detrimental product of unionization is less flexibility:

“Families have ever-changing schedules that will conflict with union contracts. A likely outcome: an increase of unfair labor practices. Unfair labor practices will lead to increased litigation, escalating child care costs.”

And as families can scant afford enough child care through subsides as it is, the order is set to restrict availability and force the taxpayer to bear the added expenses from unionized child care.

For decent child care, Kovacs believes Gov. Dayton must rescind his executive order.

“Unionization requires forced dues payment, loss of worker rights, and restricts entry into markets. Reducing providers and making child care a less attractive industry for potential entrepreneurs are steps in the wrong direction. Maintaining worker rights and freedom to choose will afford Minnesotan’s ample quality child care.”

As it stands, it looks as if Dayton’s unionizing order will deny widespread access to affordable child care in Minnesota.