Some childcare providers fear that Santa may not be the only one paying them a visit this holiday season. Becky Swanson and Susan Johnson are trying to inform their colleagues that union representatives are currently visiting childcare providers at their homes. The representatives are collecting information cards in order to eventually hold a vote on unionizing the providers, an issue that has been in and out of Minnesota’s legal system for a decade.
Becky and Susan are a part of a pending lawsuit against Governor Dayton to prevent unionization of providers receiving government-funded childcare assistance. The assistance is used by low-income families to pay for childcare. The providers fear that union regulations will inhibit their ability to serve the specific needs of their families.
Doug Seaton is the attorney representing the childcare providers and believes that AFSCME Minnesota, the union that is involved in this case, may attempt to rush a vote in the near future. Seaton explains the union has a history of rushing votes during the holidays, and says that providers are planning to file a suit to block the unionization once this happens, saying, “we’re thinking they may try the same trick of doing it around the holiday season to ambush the people who may be waiting to oppose it, that’s not going to happen, we think we’ll be ready for them.”
Becky and Susan are calling fellow providers to let them know they believe they should keep an eye out for the voting cards, saying the only votes that count are the ones that are mailed back.
AFSCME did not comment on whether or not they are planning to have childcare providers vote on this issue in the near future.