Child care providers need support

To the editor:

While I appreciated the chance to hear Senator Gary Dahms and Representative Chris Swedzinski speak at Tuesday night’s Town Hall Meeting, I feel more information needs to be given to our communities about the child care union fight. This is not only a fight for just the child care professionals, but also for families and businesses. The effect on rural child care professionals will trickle down to our local businesses, not just the families. If providers are forced to join this union, many have said they will have to close, have to raise rates or will have to stop caring for children whose families use CCAP. Families will have to cover the union fees that are being taken automatically out of the CCAP payments. Families will have to decide if they can afford to pay the higher rates or forgo child care and stay at home. Businesses will lose employees and will have a smaller workforce to choose from.

While providers do not want to take these actions, there will be little choice left to us. We love our families, but we have to make business decisions as well.

Some important pieces of information to know:

The usual threshold to form a union is 30 percent, the threshold to form this union is 10 percent.

They are lobbying to bring in votes from unlicensed providers. These providers legally care for only one family and can accept assistance from the state, but they do not have to follow the regulations or trainings that licensed professionals do.

A recent poll conducted by the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association (MLFCCA) was released March 13. One thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight providers took the survey. 86.3 percent voted NO, 5.54 percent voted yes, 5.37 percent -uncertain and 2.8 percent wanted more information. The numbers are overwhelming, and yet our legislature is not listening. They continue to push this bill through.

Professional child care providers need the support of our communities in this fight. It was suggested at the meeting that calls to the governor would be a good idea. While this is an important call to make, I believe it is also very important to contact the members of the Ways and Means Committee that have the bill in their hands right now. Their contact information is on the website:

We need everyone (parents, providers, and community members) to contact not just the current committee members, but all members of the legislature and the governor. We need to flood the committee members with our concerns. We need our community members to talk to family and friends in other districts and ask for their help. We need everyone to remind our legislature they rely on us to continue as our representatives. Licensed child care professionals do not want to be unionized. Our voices deserve to be heard. Please don’t expect the next person to call/email. Be the person that calls and stands up for what is truly best for the children of Minnesota.

Jen Shaffer

Sole Proprietor

Footsteps In Growing Daycare