Supporters, opponents of childcare union vote hold competing events

Protest at Minnesota State Capitol
About 100 people gathered in the Minnesota State Capitol Saturday to protest Gov. Mark Dayton's executive order allowing a unionization vote for child care workers statewide. Ballots for the vote are mailed out Tuesday.
MPR Photo/Rupa Shenoy

Supporters and opponents of a vote to unionize childcare providers held competing events Saturday.

At issue is Gov. Mark Dayton's executive order allowing a unionization vote for 4,300 daycare providers.

Opponents of unionization by childcare providers worry unionization could drive up the cost of day care for both parents and taxpayers, while supporters say day care providers want a voice in the regulation of the industry.

Dayton has said the fairest way to resolve the dispute over unionization among child care providers is through a vote. Ballots will be mailed out Tuesday. Opponents have filed suit to prevent the vote.

Opponents rallied Saturday at the state Capitol. St. Michael childcare provider Hollee Saville said Dayton doesn't have the authority to call for a vote.

"It's unfortunate that he took, basically with a swipe of the pen, basically took our freedoms away," she said. "Participation won't be voluntary. You may not be forced to [pay] membership dues, but you could be forced to pay Fair Share fees, and Minnesota is a Fair Share state."

Supporters of unionization are also taking action. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees organized a phone bank where pro-union childcare providers called their colleagues, asking them to vote in favor of representation Tuesday.

AFSCME Council 5 spokeswoman Jennifer Munt says many childcare providers agreed to vote 'yes.'

"Childcare providers work in isolation across the state," she said. "They hunger for the opportunity to come together and have a strong voice in the rules and the regulations that regulate their industry. And they hunger for the opportunity to have a seat at the table and a say in the decisions that affect the work they do."

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