House blocks use of state money for child care union dues

  • Star Tribune
  • February 9, 2012 - 7:44 PM

Reinforcing their opposition to child care unionization, the Minnesota House on Thursday passed a bill to block state child care funds from paying for union dues.

House Republicans said they want to ensure that, in the event child care providers are unionized, state subsidies for child care would not be used to pay dues.

Last year, Gov. Mark Dayton ordered an election among child care workers that would allow them to vote on whether to join a union. That vote has been held up by a court injunction.

"We're going to make sure that taxpayer funds go to taking care of kids and people who watch them," said House Majority Leader Matt Dean, of Dellwood.

The House passed the bill on a 74-55 vote. It was the sixth bill the House has approved this year.

The bill would allow child care providers to pay union dues, but the providers would have to arrange payments themselves, rather than have the state subtract dues from the subsidy checks they issue to parents.

Dayton called the House vote "just another one of these gambits to make some political mileage out of something." His order last year specifically said that no one who is not a union member would have to pay dues.

Detractors of the House measure say it is premature, since there is not yet a child care workers' union; they said it would unfairly control how child care workers spend their own earnings.

"It is a big-government, condescending, paternalistic message and it's wrong," said Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights.

An identical bill has been introduced in the Senate.

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger • Twitter: @rachelsb

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