No Kidding: Bill Would Classify Day Care Workers as Public Employees

Posted by John Regan on Oct 3, 2011 9:01:00 AM

Here’s something for the “Are you kidding me?” file:  A bill pending in the Massachusetts Legislature would classify employees of private child-care businesses as public employees, give their names and home addresses to labor unions and pay those unions to represent the workers.

Day Care WorkersAssociated Industries of Massachusetts will testify against the measure - An Act to Improve Quality in Early Education Care Centers – before the Joint Committee on Public Service Tuesday. AIM believes the proposal represents a clear and unprecedented intrusion by government into private business and a massive transfer of wealth from hard-working day care employees to big labor unions.

The introduction to the bill seems innocuous enough:

“It is hereby declared to be the policy of the commonwealth to assure quality early education and care for children by child care providers…” 

Who could argue with that?

“It shall also be the intent of the General Court that child care providers and the commonwealth work jointly to establish a quality early education and care program that serves eligible low income families through providers who have the requisite skills and training.” 

Again, who could argue?

But then the language gets, well, perplexing:

“In order to address these challenges, child care providers are to be given the opportunity to work collectively to improve standards in their profession and to expand opportunities for educational advancement to ensure continuous quality improvement in the delivery of early learning services…” 

All of which happens now. But the bill maintains that to make improvement happen:

“Child care providers shall be considered public employees,” and shall be given the right to bargain collectively “with the Department of Early Education and Care, to collaborate through collective bargaining to improve the standards in their profession, expand opportunities for educational advancement and to ensure continuous improvement in the delivery of early education and care services.”

The bill would also impose a “Representation fee…paid by the state to the employee organization (read the union) for its role in advocating (lobbying) for professional development and representing (lobbying for) child care providers under this chapter.” 

And if that’s not enough:

“Every child care center and school age child care program . . . shall provide to the Department of Early Education and Care a list of the names, home addresses, phone numbers, workplace and job title of all current child care providers, annually by January 30, except that initially such lists shall be provided within thirty days of the effective date of this section.

“The Department of Early Education and Care shall, upon request, provide to a labor organization a list of all current child care providers in the unit that the organization seeks to organize or represents. Such list shall contain information including name, home addresses, telephone number, workplace and job title with regard to such employees, as is necessary for the purposes of this act.”

Individual child care and early education centers would effectively lose control of their work force while costs to the state will increase to pay a “representation fee” levied by a union for doing work that can be done right now, without making everyone in the business a public employee and union member.

AIM is not anti-union.  And we have been strong and visible supporters of efforts to improve early education opportunities in Massachusetts.

But this bill lacks logic and does nothing to advance the interest of children.  Unfortunately, we’re not kidding.

Topics: Public Sector, Employment Law, Organized Labor

AIM Applauds Focus on Private Sector in Senate Budget Debate

Posted by Brad MacDougall on May 26, 2010 3:07:00 PM

"We have come to a point where the private sector is having great trouble affording the public sector" - Read below to find out which Senator made this statement.

With less than 67 days remaining in the legislative calendar ending July 31, today is a busy one for members of the General Court. This afternoon the Senate begins debate over the Fiscal Year 2011 budget while the House considers a bill H.4703 to update an antiquated criminal history records administrative agency. Yesterday, the Governor signed a supplemental appropriation which includes $9.5 million for the state Workforce Training Fund for Fiscal Year 2010.

The $27.88 appropriation bill now before the Senate, which cuts more than $750 million from the level required to maintain state services in fiscal year 2011, adds $53 million to the House version, while proposing no new taxes, no withdrawals from the state Rainy Day Fund and maintains the half-point reduction in the corporate excise tax rate. Important to employers are 83 amendments that AIM's letter to the Senate highlighted out of the total 800 amendments under consideration.

AIM would like to commend Senate President Murray and Chairman Steven Panagiotakos and members of the Ways and Means Committee for advancing a prudent spending plan for the Commonwealth. We cannot improve on the sentiments of Senator Panagiotakos, who wrote in his cover letter accompanying the release of the bill:

"Just as Massachusetts families have had to tighten their belts and do without, so will the branches, agencies, departments, commissions and programs that make up our state government. At all levels of state and municipal government we will be challenged to do more with less.

Unfortunately, this will be the case for the foreseeable future. We have come to a point where the private sector is having great trouble affording the public sector. It will take large increases in private sector economic development and job creation to change this conflicting paradigm.

Although state government cannot create private sector investments and jobs, it can create the fertile field for them to grow. The challenge is, therefore, job creation. Without it, we stay mired in the mud of a recession. With it, we have a clear road to a better future for all."

AIM believes that the sentiments expressed above must guide every decision that touches the state's business climate and we applaud Senator Panagiotakos for expressing this so clearly and eloquently.

AIM is monitoring the amendment process in the Senate as well as the CORI debate in the House and will provide updates on the progress of these bills. Watch the House and Senate debates live by clicking here.

Topics: Public Sector, Massachusetts state budget, Senator Panagiotakos, AIM, CORI, Senate President Therese Murray, Private Sector

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