You wouldn't expect anything else, but Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, is no fan of the job the DFL-controlled Legislature is doing so far this session.
You might be surprised, however, by how bad she thinks things have gotten at the Capitol.
[jump] During a legislative town hall meeting in Alexandria, one of the topics of discussion was a bill that would allow in-home child care providers to unionize. MPR provides perspective on either side of the issue:
The bill says if a majority votes in favor of unionizing, every provider who receives state subsidies will be enrolled...And a bit more about the motivation for the bill comes via Forum Communications:
Judy Sanda of Cloquet said she does not want a union involved with her day care business. "I just really do not believe that there is anything that the union can do for me in my personal business," Sanda said. "I've had the union be at my doors. I find them frightening and I find them scary."
Darlene Henry is a personal care attendant in Rosemount who provides in-home care to her mother. She said a union will help negotiate higher reimbursement rates, as well as provide training and health care benefits.
"There are many other home care workers out there who struggle as I do to get by or save for the future. Right now, as it stands, I have no voice. I have no say what happens in my career," Henry said. "I don't even have the right to choose to form a union, which is what I realized is the best decision that we have."
[Bill sponsor Sen. Sandra Pappas, D-St. Paul] said the average per-hour child-care pay in areas outside the Twin Cities is $2.83.Finally, the AP provides some historical context:
"They are much more than baby sitters," Pappas said about the child-care providers who would be affected by her bill.
The workers also need a union, she said, because "they are often isolated from their peers."
Gov. Mark Dayton tried in 2011 to call a union election for daycare providers that care for children whose parents receive a state-child care subsidy. But a Ramsey County judge canceled the election saying only the Legislature could call it.Franson's opposition to this bill runs so deep that it apparently moved her to tears last Friday. From the Alexandria Echo Press's report about that night's town hall meeting:
The bill unveiled [earlier this session] calls that election. Its backers say a union would allow child-care providers to collectively bargain state subsidy rates.
Child care providers who get subsidies but don't want to be in the union would still have to pay 85 percent of monthly dues. Some providers opposed to a union say that would drive up daycare costs for parents.
A former child care provider, Franson was visibly distraught over the issue.But as detailed by Bluestem Prairie's Sallly Jo Sorensen, it's strange to read that Franson is concerned about funding levels for child care and care of the disabled. After all, in 2011, she lauded MNGOP-pushed cuts to state Health and Human Services funding. Consider this passage from a blog post she wrote in August of that year:
"I'm just very emotional today because the Democrats are just destroying this state," she said through tears.
Franson said child care providers should have the right to run their business without a union, to choose to be privatized and receive the subsidy.
"The union is going to denigrate the child care system as we know it," she said. "It doesn't stop with the unions; they're going after our disabled people also."
Franson said it is not only child care subsidies that are affected. The money available for care of disabled people will be cut as well.
The fact that we were able to turn Health and Human Services from a projected growth of over 22% and bend the curve down to less than 5% is impressive in itself. Even still, Minnesota has a spending problem NOT a revenue problem and it needs to be seriously addressed.Put it together and Franson's operative theory seems to be that cutting state funding while preventing care providers from even having the option to unionize will somehow be for the greater good. Color us skeptical.
At the end of the day - we are at war. We are fighting an ideological war...