Column: DFL catered to its labor base in unionizing day care workersThere’s no doubt about the best thing the 2013 Minnesota Legislature did: making same-sex marriages the same under the law as other marriages. There’s also no doubt about the worst thing.
There’s no doubt about the best thing the 2013 Minnesota Legislature did: making same-sex marriages the same under the law as other marriages.
There’s also no doubt about the worst thing: trying to turn self-employed people who provide day care into union members. It’s the worst example I can recall of DFL arrogance in catering to its political base.
Luckily, it’s unlikely to survive a court challenge. But some voters will remember this insulting move when they go to the polls next year, and total state government domination by Democrats may be a two-year phenomenon.
Unions played a huge and positive role in creating the American middle class during the 20th century as they represented workers bargaining with employers. In recent decades, many unions have grown narrow and greedy — and their shrinking role in our economy shows the result.
But Big Labor is a big part of the Democratic Party base, perhaps nowhere more than in Minnesota. And the illogical effort to turn small-business owners into union members shows the craven level DFLers will stoop to.
One sign that not all DFL legislators accepted this power play is that the bill passed only 68-66 in the House, despite a strong push by Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders.
Think about what they’ve done. In many cases, home day care is provided by a one-person operation, with the care provider being the business owner. Now, this owner — who may well dislike the union idea — might have to, in effect, pay union dues.
But wait, if the new union members are employers, not employees, whom would they bargain with? The deep-pocketed state government, of course.
DFL legislators voted to spend nearly $2.8 million in the next three years so unions can capture more state money while siphoning dollars out of the financially fragile day care system to pay union dues instead of holding down day care costs for parents.
Supporters of the bill said care providers can vote on whether to join a union. That’s true. It’s also true that, if most covered providers vote for a union, those who vote “no” must pay union dues anyway or make “fair share” payments for union activities they don’t want.
I hope a majority of care providers will vote against being unionized or that a court challenge will overturn this oppressive law.
Doug Seaton, a Minneapolis attorney representing law opponents, filed a motion in federal court on May 29 for a preliminary injunction
to block it from taking effect, and expects a ruling soon. Other groups also vowed to challenge the law.
The law doesn’t spell out which unions will represent day care owners, but DFL insiders seem to have already divvied up the labor spoils: the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees will represent day care firms while the Service Employees International Union will repre-
sent the personal-care attendants also covered under the bill.
Have you ever heard of AFSCME representing private citizens — employers, at that? Me neither. When I first learned of this ludicrous effort,
I feared it might eventually apply to me. After all, I’m a self-employed columnist. But I learned they won’t try to unionize me.
Even blatant union-loving Democrats had to have some excuse for turning the normal labor-management relationship on its head. So the law is tied to those who receive state Child Care Assistance Program dollars, which will now be reduced since union dues will be taken from them.
But the law also applies to unlicensed personal-care workers, who provide care for sick, elderly and disabled people, some of whom are family members. It will be interesting to see how well the state can determine who these unlicensed folks are.
If day care workers want help negotiating their state assistance, they can form an association, as many other groups have done. But, of course, that wouldn’t provide payback for all the millions Big Labor spent to elect Democrats.
Gov. Dayton tried to create a union with a 2011 executive order, but it was shot down in court. Ironically, his order was less onerous than the new law since it said caregivers who didn’t join the union wouldn’t have to pay dues or a “fair share” amount.
Budgeteer opinion columnist Virgil Swing has been writing about Duluth for many years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.