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Wendy Novak, Dilworth, Published May 21 2013

Letter: Workers union is pro-child care

The Minnesota Senate voted in favor of workers’ rights. They chose to let the workers decide their employment futures. Because of the Senate’s vote, child care providers can make their own choice to unionize, and for that I thank those senators who voted “yes.”

I’ve spent many years as a child care provider. It’s a tough job and many times not glamorous, but I love doing it. The services I provide to families in my community are necessary and valued. Unfortunately, funding for child care assistance programs has dropped by more than $11 million between 2008 and 2011. Minnesota has also cut reimbursement rates and funding for training. With cuts like these, every year it becomes more difficult to keep my small business afloat.

My situation, however, is not unique. From talking with other child care providers, I see their frustration, and we wonder what can be done to improve our situation. If we had more control over the rates, rules and policies directing the care we provide, we could directly raise the standards and quality of care we provide. The option of unionizing gives us that chance.

So I say thanks to Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, for voting “yes” to give me and many other providers a chance for a seat at the table. Your “yes” vote is good for providers and the children and families they serve.