Senate Republicans and several child care providers on Monday called on DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and his administration to halt a unionization election, saying that some providers have been improperly excluded from voting.
Child care providers on Monday contended that the Department of Human Services excluded some providers by selecting voters who had received state funding in December of 2015, rather than the previous 12 months.
“The way the administration is conducting this election is disenfranchising hundreds of potential voters,” said Jennifer Parrish, a Rochester child care provider and a critic of the unionization effort.
Parrish is leader of the Coalition for Union Free Providers and previously filed a lawsuit to halt the unionization drive from proceeding.
Dayton last week dismissed the complaints after a House GOP legislator first wrote a letter asking the governor to halt the union election.
Dayton said the letter by Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley, was the latest effort by opponents to undermine the unionization drive.
“This is one more of these harassing tactics,” he said. “Why not let there be an election and why not let the workers decide for themselves? That to me is the American way to proceed.”
Monday’s news conference and the letter by Mack represent the latest flash points in a deeply partisan fight to unionize child care providers receiving state payments.
If enough eligible child care providers vote yes, they will join AFSCME, one of the largest public employee unions in the state and a strong backer of DFL candidates and causes. The union would collectively bargain on behalf of providers who receive state money to care for children under the Child Care Assistance Program, or CCAP.
The election is the result of a three-year battle that began in 2013 to unionize personal-care attendants — who voted to form a union in 2014 — and now child care workers.
Republicans said the bill was a DFL power grab to help unions win members and dues money to help their DFL friends in political campaigns.