By Jim Ragsdale

Opposition by two DFL senators sent a labor-backed bill to allow in-home care workers to join a union to a defeat in committee on Monday.

The bill, which applied to certain in-home child care workers and in-home personal care attendants, failed on an 11-11 vote in the Senate Finance Committee.

Senators Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, and Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, voted against the measure, joining nine GOP members of the committee.

The sponsor, Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, called the defeat a disappointing setback. But she said she hopes she can resurrect the bill yet this week and have the committee re-vote and move it out to the Senate floor, perhaps without a recommendation that it be passed.

But she mentioned the bill remains challenging to pass, because it represents a major change in the idea of what a union is. Goodwin said she believes there are not enough votes on the Senate floor to pass the bill this year.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said the measure has always been a hard one for lawmakers. "I think it will be up to the advocates of it to figure out how they get the votes. I'm not going to twist people's arms to vote for it," said Bakk, DFL-Cook.

A similar bill has cleared committees and awaits a floor vote in the House.

Union leaders expressed confidence that the bill can be resurrected, passed by both houses and signed by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger contributed to this post.