Four House GOP members who oppose child-care unionization said Gov. Mark Dayton has used "vitriolic rhetoric" in characterizing union opponents.
Child-care providers who oppose unionization should not be "derided and dismissed as 'extremists,' " the legislators' letter to Dayton read. They said his characterization of legal challenges as a case of "throwing their little fits" is offensive to anti-union providers, and is "patronizing and condescending toward the female providers who brought the lawsuit."
The letter to the DFL governor was signed by GOP Reps. Tara Mack, an Assistant House Minority Leader from Apple Valley; Mary Franson of Alexandria; Kathy Lohmer of Stillwater; and Cindy Pugh of Chanhassen.
At an appearance Wednesday, Dayton noted the child care bill merely gives providers the right to vote on unionization. He added, "There’s a whole extreme right-wing element in this state and this country who believe they should dictate to people, 'No you don’t have that chance, to vote for yourself.' "
The four legislators responded: "We encourage you to take provider concerns more seriously. Instead of insulting them, we expect you to engage them in a manner more becoming of the Office of Governor of Minnesota."
Bob Hume, Dayton's Deputy Chief of Staff, said the governor respects providers who oppose the union and has met with them in the past. He said Dayton's reference to the "extreme right wing" was "not to the providers, but to the national moneyed interests" who are funding lawsuits and seeking to prevent providers from voting.