Unionizing childcare has broader implications than presented

Coverage of childcare union issue too one-sided

Letter to the editorI would like to thank you for covering the childcare union issue [in “New legislation would give home childcare providers option to unionize,” MSR, April 18]. However, I am disappointed that you only appeared to cover one side.

You didn’t interview any childcare providers who were opposed. Those you did interview were not covered under this proposed union because they are centers. Recent surveys show that anywhere between 85-95 percent are opposed, so it should be rather easy to find a provider to interview who is opposed.

It stated in your article that this will not affect private operations. This is 100 percent false. We are all independent small businesses, even those who care for a family that qualifies for childcare assistance from the state.

Accepting this money on behalf of low-income families is no different than a grocery store accepting food stamps or a landlord accepting rental assistance. This receipt of payment does not somehow make their business a State-run operation or change the way they do business at all. Nor does it affect the rates we set.

This just simply means that a portion of the parents’ bill comes from the childcare assistance program. Every business that will be unionized is a private operation. Since this union intends to negotiate on issues related to terms and conditions of our work as childcare providers (rules, regulations, paperwork, grievance process, communications with the State, etc.), this will impact all 11,000 independent childcare businesses and how we operate, even those not covered under the union umbrella.

Since there is so little support for unionization, the direction our profession would take would be determined by a minority. As of December, the union only had 57 members, many of whom are paid to promote the union.

The provider you interviewed is paid thousands of dollars per year for her work with AFSCME. This is not simply a provider who wants to form a union. This is a provider who sees financial gain in a union forming.

I ask that you consider doing a follow-up piece. I would be happy to provide you with contracts from other states along with other important facts. You can find more information on our website as well at www.childcareunioninfo.com.

Again, thank you for covering this story. You did report one of the major negative implications that will result from all this. Dues and the higher cost of running a business will be passed along to parents.

A recent survey showed that fewer than 20 percent said they wouldn’t raise their rates if this passed. That’s something families using childcare need to understand, especially when Minnesota already has the second-highest cost of child care in the entire country.


Jennifer Parrish,

Member, Coalition of Child Care Providers