ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota State Senate President Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul) introduced legislation to allow more than 9,000 state-subsidized child care providers to engage in collective bargaining if a majority sign union authorization cards. An election to decide unionization would take place if 30 percent of the child care providers sign the cards.
“This is important legislation designed to improve the affordability of child care and ensure child care providers have a voice in the decisions affecting their businesses and the children in their care.” said Sen. Pappas. “Unionizing day care providers will improve care for children and make it more affordable for working parents.”
It is important to note that this legislation will not force unionization. If the majority of providers sign the union authorization cards or if the 30 percent threshold is achieved, it is the same threshold for every other group of workers who have unionized in Minnesota. This legislation allows the child care providers to have a voice in deciding if they want to unionize. It will not make providers state employees, nor would it create the right to strike.
Several years ago Minnesota’s day-care subsidy program for lower-income families was cut to help balance the state’s budget. Those cuts not only affect families but also day-care providers. “This reality has made many day-care providers interested in signing cards stating they approve of the idea of joining a union,” said Sen. Pappas.
Sixteen states already give providers the legal right to bargain collectively. They have reduced paperwork hassles for themselves and for parents; expanded the number of children and parents served; improved training opportunities; and achieved rate increases, access to health insurance, and on-time payments for providers.