One of the more contentious and hot-button bills we have debated this session is a bill that seeks to unionize childcare providers and Personal Care Attendants (PCAs). The bill has been opposed by the Star Tribune, the Pioneer Press, and many other editorial boards across the state. Democrats and Republicans alike have voiced opposition and concerns about this overreaching bill, and according to a recent poll of childcare providers, 86% of providers have indicated they have no interest in joining a union.
The most detrimental parts of this legislation is the impact it will have on low-income families who utilize state subsidies, known as C-CAP payments, which enable parents to find a path to full-time employment, and help pay for childcare costs. Providers that do not wish to be a part of the union will be forced to reject children who rely on state subsidy payments. This limits the number of choices that low-income families will have for their childcare.
Currently, there are 5,000 Minnesota families on the waiting list to receive the C-CAP state subsidies. Fewer choices for these families would mean an even longer wait to receive the subsidy payments. Working parents working to make ends meet can’t afford to wait even longer thanks to a political power play at the Capitol.
Moreover, mandatory union dues represent increased costs for providers. As a result, parents may see their childcare bills increased or services diminished in order to offset these burdensome new costs.
This bill redirects taxpayer money intended for the care of our children, and sends it to the national labor organization. One union official stated in the Star Tribune that approximately one third of union dues would not stay in the state, but instead go to Washington D.C. to fill union coffers that allow for more campaign spending.
Why would we want to send taxpayer dollars intended to help care for our children and send it to Washington? I just don’t believe this makes sense, and is an egregious misuse of taxpayer dollars.
Raising the cost and reducing the number of care providers for parents is simply unacceptable, and not what Minnesotans expected when they elected new majorities in the legislature. We deserve better than a money-grab that benefits special interests at the expense of hardworking Minnesota parents and children.
Representative Jerry Hertaus, District 33A