Apparently, the Strib’s Jim Ragsdale hasn’t figured it out that the child care unionization story is dead, killed by the child care business owners themselves. In this morning’s paper, Ragsdale essentially runs interference for AFSCME and the SEIU:

These providers are not covered by state labor law applying to public employees, a House researcher concluded, and might also be outside of federal labor law applying to private employers. But Sojourner said that while organizing them does not fit into the traditional union model, “it fits easily into the broader sense of what a union can be.” With declining union membership, he said, the traditional model “ain’t working too well.”

Unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union, which are leading this drive, are experimenting with new models. One unanswered question is whether this initiative would allow providers to independently decide whether to associate or whether they would be forced to do so by a majority of their peers.

Many people join together for mutual benefit, even people who battle unions. And everyone would agree that a good child care provider is a priceless family asset. This debate over an issue so close to home may cause Minnesotans to look again at what a union is, and what it could be.

Perhaps he didn’t know it but Ragsdale wrote why child care businesses should reject unionization when he said this:

With declining union membership, he said, the traditional model “ain’t working too well.”

The only people who benefit from unions are the less-than-outstanding members of their profession. What incentive do teachers have to excel? Fran Tarkenton points out the illogic of the unions in this WSJ op-ed:

Some reformers, including Bill Gates, are finally catching on that our federally centralized, union-created system provides no incentive for better performance. If anything, it penalizes those who work hard because they spend time, energy and their own money to help students, only to get the same check each month as the worst teacher in the district (or an even smaller one, if that teacher has been there longer). Is it any surprise, then, that so many good teachers burn out or become disenchanted.

What positives would AFSCME or the SEIU bring to the child care business owners? Wouldn’t the right lobbying organization help these business owners more than AFSCME or the SEIU? Might there be a better solution to whichever problems are afflicting child care businesses? This exchange suggests there is:

This was at the core of an exchange between Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, and St. Paul child care provider Lisa Thompson, a union supporter, at a recent committee hearing.

“You’re a self-employed person,” said Thompson. “You set your rates…you can compete on price, on hours…who’s the oppressor?”

Lisa Thompson cited “our frustrations at the regulatory level,” meaning state and county licensing agencies, and allowed that “in many cases,” government is the “oppressor” for providers.

“Well, on that I suspect we agree,” said Thompson, the assistant Senate majority leader.

Based on Sen. Thompson’s reply, wouldn’t Ms. Thompson be better off having Sen. Thompson write legislation that improves Minnesota’s regulatory environment? Yes, unions can theoretically negotiate those things into a contract. When that contract expires, those provisions expire with the contract.

Why wouldn’t Ms. Thompson talk with Sen. Thompson to put the force of law behind the regulatory issues she says need improvement? Reforming Minnesota’s regulatory system is long overdue. Republicans announced during the special session that a major part of their agenda would be to pass “Reform 2.0”.

With a simple piece of legislation, we could put this forced unionization issue to rest without child care businesses having unionization forced down their throats.

Other than unions with dwindling membership and political influence, who could be against that?

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