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Continued: Minnesota's child-care union debate hitting home

  • Article by: JIM RAGSDALE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 16, 2013 - 8:26 AM

“If you want to vote, yes or no, get yourself C-CAP-approved,” said Swanson, whose day job involves caring for eight boys and one girl. “That’s my job,” she said. “That’s what I’m fighting for.”

Unlike Scapanski, who sought to unite the providers against a common foe, Saville pointed out the benefits of retaining their independence. “We are independent, self-employed, small-business owners, and set our own wages, hours and conditions,” she said, an oft-repeated refrain among those opposing unionization.

Their message, coupled a call to join the battle, clearly resonated at this event.

“I don’t see anything they would offer me,” said Laurie Cornelius of the union. She and her daughter, Erin Henney, who came to the meeting with Henney’s infant son, Gavin, are licensed providers in Savage. Both were concerned that unlicensed providers, who are not bound by the same rules as licensed providers, could make up the majority of the union electorate. “I don’t agree with the way they are voting,” Cornelius said. “I think it should be across-the-board.”

Henney, who previously worked with low-income parents seeking subsidized child care in Ramsey County, worries that options for those parents would decline if providers drop subsidized coverage to escape unionization. “We’ve already seen those struggles for those families,” she said.

Gary Moore, who works with his wife in a licensed family child care in Burnsville, said he generally supports unions, but opposes this effort.“I’m pro-AFSCME,” Moore said. “The point is, the way you did it. They came in and they cut 65 percent of the people out from the vote, or more.”

Jim Ragsdale • 651-925-5042

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  • Child care provider Laurie Cornelious held her 7-month-old grandson, Gavin, at a meeting on fighting efforts to unionize home child-care workers.

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