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House tables bill on unions for care workers

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After more than four-and-a-half hours of debate overnight, the Minnesota House has set aside for now a controversial bill that would let state-subsidized home health and child care workers form unions.

  The House is scheduled to go back into session at noon Sunday and could resume debate on the measure then or on Monday. But legislative leaders say budget bills are the priority Sunday.  

The union proposal drew protesters to the Capitol this weekend. Hollee Saville, who runs a child care center in St. Michael, said if the bill passes, many child care providers may decide not to take children whose parents get money from the state to pay for day care.

  "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," Saville said. 

    Personal care attendant Darleen Henry of Rosemount, who supports the measure, takes care of her mother and says a union would mean better pay.  

"A year and a half ago, my pay was cut 20 percent," Henry said. "And we didn't have any say in it. And so I went from making $11 to $8-something."

  The union bill narrowly passed the Minnesota Senate last week after 17 hours of debate.