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Dan McGrath

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dan.mcgrath@mnmajority.org

 

 

Non-Members Could be Assessed “Fair Share” Fees if ChildcareUnionFormed

Statements by Governor and Unions Misleading

St. Paul – The possibility of childcare providers who opt not to join one of the two proposed childcare unions being required to pay fair share fees has become a hotly contested point of debate, but despite assurances from the governor, his Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on his blocked executive order and statements from union organizers, it’s clear that state law will allow the unions to require fair share fees of non-members if established.

 

Fair Share fees are costs assessed on individuals who are not members of a union which is the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit they are considered part of. The theory is that the union is doing work on the individual’s behalf to better their conditions, wages or benefits, so even though the individual does not desire the service provided by the union, payment of their “fair share” is expected.

 

Governor Dayton’s executive order establishing the unionization election says, “Nothing in this order shall be construed to require participation, or the involuntary payment of dues by any family childcare provider,” but this is a tricky bit of word play, said Jeff Davis, a spokesperson for the Childcare Freedom Coalition.

 

“This has the right sound, but when you scrutinize the legal meanings and definitions of words, and how the governor’s order interacts with laws already on the books, you learn that this wording is deliberately misleading, designed to obfuscate the reality of unionization. It’s a smoke screen,” saidDavis.

 

Davisnoted that there is a legal distinction between union dues and fair share fees, both are legal terms defined inMinnesotastatutes. “Fees” are paid by non-members while “dues” are paid by members of a union.

 

Representatives of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Unions (AFSCME) and Service Workers International Union (SEIU) were evasive when asked about fair share fees in committee hearings conducted by the legislature, relying on this word-play, insisting that only union members will pay “dues.”

 

Part 3 of the governor’s executive order reads, “If a majority of licensed registered subsidized family child care providers voting in the mail ballot election provided for herein, vote affirmatively for exclusive meet and confer representation, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services shall certify the organization so designated.”

 

Exclusive “meet and confer” representation is only defined in Minnesota Statutes in chapter 179A, which governs public employee unions (Specifically, the legal term, “meet and confer” is defined in Minnesota Statute 179A.03, subdivision 10). Minnesota Statute 179A.06, subdivision 3 allows “the exclusive representative” (the union) governed by Chapter 179A to “require employees who are not members of the exclusive representative to contribute a fair share fee for services rendered by the exclusive representative.”

 

Those mandatory fair share fees can be up to 85% of the members’ union dues.

 

“It doesn’t matter what the governor’s stated intentions are, or how he means his order to be construed,” saidDavis, “The governor can’t make or alter laws by intent or by executive orders, which is exactly why Judge Lindman issued a restraining order stopping the order. Once an exclusive meet and confer representation union is established, the laws on the books take effect. 179A is the only chapter inMinnesotalaw governing this type of union and it’s clear as day that fair share fees can be required of non-members.”

 

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For more information, see www.ChildcareFREEDOM.com