Even though a survey conducted by the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association showed 86 percent of family childcare providers in Minnesota oppose pending legislation that would force these workers to unionize, DFL State Senator Sandy Pappas has continued her push to payback Big Labor.
Sen. Pappas bill, SF 778, passed the State Senate over the weekend 35-32 and today, in the last day of the Minnesota’s legislature session, the House has a chance to put the unwanted/illegal bill allowing state-subsidized providers to unionize to rest.
Besides the fact most childcare providers do not want a union, these workers are small business owners that under federal labor law cannot unionize. The law firm Seaton, Peters & Revnew details the illegality of the bill:
The family child care providers affected by the proposed legislation can only be properly described as private sector under the NLRA and can not be converted to “public employees” simply by saying so. Federal law mandates that it is an unfair labor practice for an employer to “…dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it…” 29 U.S.C. 158 (a)(2) Yet the legislation purports to create a framework to form a union of employers and business owners and as such, is directly contrary to Section 8(a)(2)’s prohibition against employer interference financial contribution to a union. The election called for in the legislation would provide for representation of these employers by unions, giving the employers an impermissable voice in the administration of a union.
To get around this difficulty, the bill deems these self-employed workers government employees because some are paid with state child care subsidies.
However, even if you let the bill’s outlandish definition of what constitutes a government worker slide, it still doesn’t pass muster. The Minnesota Labor Relations Act indicates that a union cannot gain exclusive representation, unless a majority of workers choose to join a union. The bill blatantly violates that provision, as it excludes over half of providers from the voting process, requiring only 30 percent of the over 11,000 workers to vote in favor of unionization.
Last and most importantly families will have less choice when it comes to care. As Hollee Saville, a child care provider, says:
“You’re going to be reducing the amount of choices for quality child care for the low-income children and families who need it the most”
Hopefully commonsense will prevail and the Minnesota House members will refuse to take up the bill in the last day of the session. Yet if the it passes, legal remedies could unravel the bill and halt its implementation.