Thanks to the Strib’s shoddy research, this op-ed is essentially worthless. Here’s what I’m talking about:

A vote by secret ballot is the only appropriate way to decide whether Minnesota’s 11,000 home day care workers should be unionized. This week, Gov. Mark Dayton smartly bucked ill-advised pressure from traditional labor allies to circumvent such an election through an executive order.

Actually, this isn’t complicated. Day care providers shouldn’t be unionized because the day care providers’ employers are the children’s parents. It’s preposterous to think that day care providers need protection from children’s parents.

During an interview, Rep. Mary Franson clarified that this unionization effort wasn’t about day care centers, which employ anywhere from a half dozen people to perhaps dozens of people. Rep. Franson confirmed this was essentially about day care providers, which frequently are run by a person in their home.

Later in the interview, Rep. Franson confirmed that this year’s push in Douglas County was made by AFSCME, which represents federal, state, county and municipal employees.

A quick read of a research paper prepared by the non-partisan House Research staff shows that day care providers don’t fit the description of a government employer or employee as defined in Minnesota state statutes.
According to non-partisan House research, here’s what their research said about PELRA:

What is the status of home-based child care providers under the Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA)?

Answer: Minnesota Statutes Chapter 179A defines a public employer as the state of Minnesota or other local political subdivisions. The law also defines public employees as those appointed or employed by a public employer. Under currentlaw, a self-employed, home-based child care provider would not be a public employer or a public employee. Here is the link to the law; the relevant definitions are in subdivisions 14 and 15:

First, day care providers frequently take care of children whose parents receive various forms of government assistance. That’s what AFSCME tried hanging their hat on. AFSCME tried arguing that day care providers were public employees since they were often paid by the state government.

Their argument is shattered, though, because Minnesota’s statute is tightly defined. If they want the definition changed, they’ll need legislation passed and signed changing the definition. Until then, Gov. Dayton doesn’t have the authority to execute an executive order that unionizes day care providers because they aren’t public employees or public employers. Without that designation, Gov. Dayton is powerless.

The major point worth making is that unions are desperate. Their influence with the public is shrinking. Their numbers keep decreasing, too. Union dues aren’t coming in at the rate that the unions’ leadership needs to be influential politically.

Calling them politically inconsequential scares unions almost as much as it scares the DFL.

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3 Responses to “Strib op-ed on daycare is sloppy, misses point”

  • Vikki L. says:

    I totally agree with what you said. We, as daycare providers, technically have no boss. We are our own bosses. We decide what to provide to the children as far as meals, curriculum (if used), arts and crafts, etc. Nobody tells us what we have to use or do. I am totally against unionizing daycares. This wouldn’t give us a voice in our HOME BUSINESS. Note: HOME business. It’s run out of our homes. We decided to do this and provide care to other children. Yes, we do have certain rules that need to be followed. We need to keep our voices open for ourselves and not let someone else tell us how to run our own businesses!

  • Gary Gross says:

    Vikki, Thanks for that insight. And thanks for contributing to society’s health in such a positive way.

  • Tom Shieh says:


    Thanks for sharing a good article


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