Minnesota To Grant Care Workers The Right To Join A Union

On Monday, a bill squeaked through the Minnesota House of Representatives that would allow in-home child care and personal care workers in the state to unionize. By a margin of two votes, the state House of Representatives sent the bill to Gov. Mark Dayton (D), who is expected to sign it.

SEIU and AFSCME, the state’s largest unions, now have four years to organize those workers:

The 12,500 child care workers in Minnesota who look after children in the state’s Child Care Assistance Program, known as C-CAP for short, must vote on whether or not to join the union by 2017. At least 50 percent of the state’s providers will need to join in order of the union to be established.

Those who do not provide care to C-CAP families will not need to vote and will not be affected.

If care workers vote to unionize, the union will be able to negotiate the size of reimbursements from clients who use subsidies and members will be able to file grievances. The bill doesn’t give them the right to strike.

These positions are part of a booming industry. Personal care jobs are expected to grow by 70 percent over the next decade, much faster than the average. Child care positions are expected to jump by 20 percent. Yet the pay in both areas is low. Median annual wages are about $19,600 for personal care aides and $19,300 for child care workers.