House approves care workers union bill by single vote

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  • May 20, 2013 - 3:15 PM

Organized labor won a major victory in the waning hours of the Legislative session Monday when the House approved -- by a single vote -- a bill that allows some in-home child care providers and personal care attendants to decide whether to unionize.

The House approved the bill by a 68-66 vote, the minimum required for passage, prompting a prolonged cheer from union supporters in the galleries, an unusual event that angered GOP opponents of the bill.

The bill goes to DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. A spokeswoman said the governor will sign the bill into law.

It will allow two unions that are key parts of the DFL constituency -- the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) -- to try to organize more than 20,000 child care providers and personal care attendants.

The bill became the sticking point of the 2013 session, taking 17 hours of debate in the Senate and three separate long debates in the House.

Opponents immediate vowed to file suit to block implementation of the organizing attempt.

"If we pass this legislation, all we're saying is, it's their choice," said House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul.

"My heart breaks for the moms," said an opponent, Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley.  Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, said there will be a reaction against DFL supporters. "You're going to see passion, folks," he said. "I hope the money and the members are worth it."


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