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Minnesota child care providers reject union

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Minnesota child care providers rejected a proposal to unionize Tuesday, as they voted strongly against the measure. In-home child care providers rejected the proposal on a final vote of 1,014 to 392 – making it clear they did not want to unionize.

The issue had become strongly divided along party lines, during what has been an eight-year effort to unionize child care providers.

House Speaker Rep. Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) has been an outspoken opponent of the the measure. He called Tuesday's resounding rejection "a victory for providers and parents alike."

"Governor Dayton tried and failed to rig an election that would have increased childcare costs for hardworking parents and caused headaches for independent providers," said Daudt in a statement Tuesday. "Democrats have been out of touch on the issue and seem to care more about increasing union dues that help fund their campaigns than about reducing the cost of childcare for Minnesota families."

Had it been approved, childcare providers would have joined AFSCME Council 5, one of the largest public employee unions in Minnesota. The union would have collectively bargained for providers who receive state money to care for children under the Child Care Assistance Program.

"We're proud that we were able to expand collective bargaining rights to family care providers who care for Minnesota's poorest children," said AFSCME Council 5 executive director Eliot Seide to KARE 11. "But we're disappointed that the providers won't have the opportunity to negotiate higher state subsidy rates and better training to prepare kids for kindergarten and success in life."

Of the 11,000 licensed providers in Minnesota, only the 2,348 that receive state subsidies were eligible to vote when the election began on Feb. 8. The ballots had to be in Monday and were counted on Tuesday.

The Star Tribune notes that opponents said they plan to push to repeal the 2013 law that allowed the vote on whether to unionize. AFSCME says they will not pursue another union election before the law expires in 2017.

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