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Lawmakers OK childcare workers union bill, Dayton likely to sign it

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The Minnesota House by the slimmest of margins on Monday approved a highly controversial bill that allows childcare workers and elderly personal care workers to unionize.

The measure passed 68-66, with a few Democrats voting with Republicans against the bill, the Star Tribune reported. The vote capped 10 hours of sometimes tense debate. Demonstrators on both sides of the issue flocked to the Capitol prior to the vote.

The Senate had passed the measure last week after 17 hours of debate that went all night.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is likely to sign the measure.

The legislation would allow the two groups of workers to vote on whether to unionize if they are employees of care providers who get subsidy money from the state. Supporters of the bill believe it will give the workers more leverage to bargain with the state for more money.

Republicans and other critics said the measure amounts to a power grab by unions, the Star Tribune reported. Critics say the measure funnels money away from care and toward unions.

Daycare providers were among some of the critics of the bill, MPR reported. The Pioneer Press spoke with a number of people on both sides of the issue who were drawn to the Capitol to protest.

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