Unions like AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) spent $100 million to elect federal, state and local candidates across the country in 2012 and now they want their payback.
In Minnesota, union influence was purchased with more than $11 million. Payback is taking the form of increasing the number of dues-paying members through bully legislation.
Making its way through Minnesota Senate committees is a rehashed proposal to force private business owners and sole proprietors to join a union or be forced to pay a “fair share” penalty.
The bill, Senate File 778, states that any child care provider who accepts clients who are subsidized by the state Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) must, under penalty of the law, join the union or pay the “fair share” fee of $25 per month. There are approximately 9,000 business owners and child care providers that would be affected by this part of the law.
Minnesota Senate State and Local Government Committee met Monday and was greeted by a large crowd of both opposition and support. Chief author of SF 778, Senator Sandra Pappas, who was endorsed by AFSCME and SEIU (Service Employees International Union) in her 2012 campaign, presented her proposal along side union bosses and sobbing testifiers. Executive Director of AFSCME Eliot Seide testified in favor of Pappas’ bill. He was paid over $122,000 last year by the union. According to union members present at the senate committee hearing, both AFSCME and SEIU would see an increase in membership if the bill becomes law.
According to testimony at the hearing, child care providers already have the option to join AFSCME and a total of 57, out of more than 9,000, have already done so.
Republican members of the Senate State and Local Government Committee had harsh words and presented stiff opposition to Pappas’ bills. Senator Brandon Petersen criticized the bill saying, “…you’re talking about unionizing small business owners… Isn’t this just a plan to syphon off dues money for the unions?”
Petersen was visibly frustrated throughout the meeting. Referring to a provision in the bill that would make the State of Minnesota the “employer of record” for all child care providers, Petersen asked, “Home child care providers are not employees. Why are we trying to unionized small business owners?”
One testifier in opposition to the union power grab took it upon herself to call child care providers in Pappas’ district to find out if they wanted to be unionized. Becky Swanson, a licensed child care professional, only found three. Swanson urged members of the committee to return to their districts and find out for themselves if their constituents are in favor of forced unionization.
Hollie Saville also testified before the committee in opposition to the bill. She quipped, “I brought a copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,” as she waved the booklets in her hands, “Perhaps some need a refresher on them.”
Republican Senator Dave Thompson asked Pappas if there was any way to know how many providers who currently take CCAP clients will stop taking low income family clients because of this forced unionization. Pappas simply replied, “no.”
Consequences and the Democrat War on Poverty
Republican Senator Dave Thompson exposed a consequence of the bill. Many in-home child care providers currently take clients who receive CCAP funding. That funding follows the low income family, not the provider. CCAP is a reimbursement to the provider. Thompson wanted it on record that he finds it “unbelievable that you would suggest people give up a large portion of their income OR join a union and pay dues.” Senator Dan Hall suggested this was a form of bullying.
In response, Pappas confirmed that providers would have to pay union dues or fair share fees, or turn away low income families.
By that rationale, Pappas and those who would vote for this bill are aware that some low income families would have to find new child care providers. In theory, Pappas is encouraging the mass exodus of licensed in-home providers and forcing low income families into more expensive, union-backed facilities that will likely have higher costs. These costs will be the burden of the tax payers in Minnesota.
More to the bill than child care
Not only does SF 778 establish a new and expensive state board, a coucil, and other administrative bureaucracy, it also attempts to unionize unlicensed in-home care givers like those caring for a disabled child or aging parent.
A Star Tribune report breaks down this part of the bill accordingly.
According to Katy Chase, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association, unlicensed providers are often relatives or neighbors who do not have to meet the requirements of licensed providers. “You’re talking grammas and grampas, families and neighbors,” she said.
“To have them included in a bill that’s talking about negotiating things that wouldn’t even come into play for them — we don’t think they should be included,” said Chase, whose organization will oppose the AFSCME-backed bill.
At the same time, a former union supporter, Kathy Stevens, who provides licensed family child care in Brainerd and was once active in the union effort, issued a statement saying the union engaged in “unethical tactics in signing unlicensed providers.” She said the reason for doing so was to win votes for the unionization attempt.
“Legally unlicensed providers are a mere pawn in the numbers game to obtain votes,” Stevens said in her statement, which was submitted to the Senate committee.
Should the unionization of small in-home child care business owners pass in the MN Senate, it will also likely pass the state House. Both senate and house are led by a democrat majority. Many of the democrats in both the senate and house were endorsed by AFSCME and SEIU in the last 2 election cycles, as was Governor Mark Dayton, who would sign it into law.
To see a comprehensive list of unions & their influence on Minnesota politics, click here:
Shot In The Dark – Unions Buy Minnesota