Minnesota governor orders unionization of child care providers

Looks like Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton also wants to do for childcare what the Obama-Reid-Pelosi machine did for healthcare — i.e. make it less flexible and more expensive. Dayton is operating on a state level, at least, but that’s the last excuse I’ll make for him. The governor recently issued an executive order that calls for a vote to unionize child care providers. But here’s the catch: The only child care providers eligible to vote on whether to unionize are those providers that are state-licensed and state-subsidized. So a small fraction of the providers will vote to unionize — and then, more than likely, all Minnesota childcare providers will be forced to pay union dues.

OpenMarkets.org’s Trey Kovacs explains why unionization will likely only make the costs of childcare in Minnesota increase:

A well-documented detrimental product of unionization is less flexibility. Union contracts do not allow for flexibility (without lavish benefits). Families have ever-changing schedules that will conflict with union contracts. A likely outcome: an increase of unfair labor practices. Unfair labor practices will lead to increased litigation, escalating child care costs.

A number of families can only afford child care through subsides awarded by the state. Gov. Dayton’s E.O. not only restricts availability of child care to families in need, it forces the taxpayer to bear the added expenses from unionized child care.

If Minnesota’s desired outcome is to provide affordable child care, Gov. Dayton must rescind his executive order. Unionization requires forced dues payment, loss of worker rights, and restricts entry into markets. Reducing providers and making child care a less attractive industry for potential entrepreneurs are steps in the wrong direction. Maintaining worker rights and freedom to choose will afford Minnesotans ample quality child care. Unfortunately, Gov. Dayton’s choice will deny widespread access to affordable child care in Minnesota in order to line the pockets of Big Labor.

Dayton reportedly issued the EO as an unabashed sop to Big Labor — as the fulfillment of a promise that earned him union support in the last election.

Dayton’s move is dually troubling — both as an enabler of Big Labor’s extortion of dues from unwilling union members and as an expansion of the state government into the childcare space. It’s hard to say which causes me to fret more.