Timeline of events


January 29, 2016: The Bureau of Mediation Services announced that an election to unionize family child care providers would take place in February. Ballots will be mailed by February 8 and need to be returned by 4pm on February 29 in order to be counted. The number of eligible voters is ridiculously low, done purposefully to try to ensure fewer family child care providers have a say in something that would affect EVERY licensed family child care provider. If you have families on CCAP, PLEASE make sure you receive a ballot and please vote NO when you do.

August 1, 2014: The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction that has restrained AFSCME from a potential child care election and sustained Judge Davis' ruling that the Parris case was not "ripe." Providers have been and are still being harmed by the threat of unionization due to the costs and time spent educating providers, legislators, the media, and the public about this issue. The two lawsuits will be refiled if and when AFSCME petitions for an election. They will again seek injunctions to prevent an election and to invalidate the law in federal court.

June 30, 2014: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that home care providers cannot be forced to pay a union! Justice Alito, who wrote the majority opinion, stated: "This case presents the question whether the First Amendment permits a State to compel personal care providers to subsidize speech on matters of public concern by a union that they do not wish to join or support. We hold that it does not, and we therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals." Click here to read the ruling.

January 21, 2014: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Harris v. Qunn, with an expected decision in Spring 2014.

October 16, 2013: The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denies AFSCME's request to lift the injunction. The court will keep the injunction in place through the appeals process.

October 1, 2013: The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear Harris v. Quinn, a case about the unionization of home care providers in Illinois, in the next session. Pam Harris should not be forced to pay a union (SEIU) in order to care for her son with disabilities. If the Supreme Court rules that home care providers (PCAs) cannot be forced to unionize, it will likely nullify unionization of family child care providers, as well.

September 19, 2013: The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction in the Parrish case, halting a potential child care union election until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether or not to hear Harris v. Quinn, a case about unionization of home care providers from Illinois.

August 6, 2013: The Parrish Plaintiffs file an appeal of Judge Davis' decision with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

July 28, 2013: Judge Davis granted Governor Dayton's requests to dismiss and denied both lawsuits' injunction requests stating that they were not "ripe." This was not a ruling based on the merits of the lawsuits, but based on his belief that nothing has happened yet to harm us. We respect Judge Davis but believe he has erred and will re-file as the unionization process proceeds. We remain convinced that home child care providers are not subject to unionization by the state under this statute. Our challenge is NOT over, so please do not lose hope. We have faith that truth, justice, freedom, and liberty will prevail.

July 18, 2013: The Honorable Judge Michael Davis heard both requests for preliminary injunctions to stop a vote and Governor Dayton's request to dismiss the lawsuits at the U.S. District Courthouse in Minneapolis. After 2 1/2 hours of arguments from both sides and both lawsuits, he said he would take the matter under advisement and rule quickly.


Two lawsuits were filed on behalf of licensed family childcare providers:

Saville, et al. v. Dayton (May 29, 2013)

Parrish et al. v. Dayton Lawsuit (June 5, 2013)

Both lawsuits state that this law is unconstitutional. Saville, et al. v. Dayton makes its case based on national labor laws (NLRA), federal anti-trust laws, and the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection clause. Parrish, et al. v. Dayton highlights the 1st Amendment's Freedom of Association clause.

Unfortunately, the courts ruled that both cases were not "ripe;" that means that they did not see harm was imminent. They did not rule on the merits of the cases.


May 18-20, 2013: After spending the last 3 days and nights at the Capitol, away from our families and childcare and going on little to no sleep, we are extremely disappointed that 68 so-called representatives in the Minnesota House did anything but represent the Constitution, their constituents, care providers, and their consciences. Instead, they voted for money and power by passing SF778, the Family Child Care and PCA unionization bill. While it is a sad day for freedom and liberty, we look forward to the opportunity to defeat this illegal, unconstitutional, and harmful bill in the courts. We will prevail!

Thank you to all of the amazing people (not paid or flown in by the unions) who have attended hearings, spent the weekend at the Capitol, contacted legislators, educated others, exemplified professionalism, and supported our rights as independent business owners against FORCED unionization. You have all been incredible and made a difference: 66 legislators from both parties voted NO on this bill; it passed by only 1 vote! That means that every legislator who voted for it was the deciding vote.

Please take the time to personally write or call every legislator who stood up for family childcare providers, PCAs, children, families, and people who use PCA services and voted NO on this bill. Every Republican was prepared a 24-hour Alamo-esque standoff to defend our rights and freedom. DFL Representatives Norton, McNamar, Pelowski, Faust, and Liebling refused to be bullied and voted NO. Thank you to all of them!

Watch the House floor sessions of SF 778:
Saturday: May 18 House debate (from 8:00:00)
Sunday: May 19 House debate (from 1:30:00)
Monday: May 20 House debate (from 38:00)

May 14-15, 2013: At 8:30 a.m. on May 15, after a record 17 1/2 hours of debate from afternoon to early morning, more than 24 amendments down, and 80 amendments left to go, SF 778 passed by a vote of 35-32. Thank you, everyone, for e-mailing these legislators. A special thanks to the Republican legislators for their tireless and heartfelt energy throughout the night and morning to drag this out into a new legislative day! Thank you to DFL Senators Bonoff, Scalze, Franzen, and Clausen and every Republican senator for voting against this illegal encroachment on our independent businesses!
May 14 Senate debate (part 1, approximately 2 hours in, Tues. - Wed.)
May 15 Senate debate (part 2, Wednesday morning)

May 8, 2013: The bill was heard again in the Senate Finance Committee through a long day and liberty took a hit by 12-10 vote! Senator Pappas protested when her bill was defeated, got a "mulligan," and Senator Bonoff changed her vote from no to yes to move it to the full Senate without recommendation.

May 6, 2013: Thanks to an outcry of frustration from providers, families, and other legislators, Chairman Cohen carried the bill over to Monday, May 6, where it was defeated by a vote of 11-11. Unfortunately, Senator Pappas demanded a revote, and Chairman Cohen gave in.
May 6 Senate Finance Committee -- AM
May 6 Senate Finance Committee -- PM

May 3, 2013: With 15 hours' notice for the meeting, SF778 was heard at 8:30am in the Senate Finance Committee.
May 3 Senate Finance Committee Video

May 2, 2013: The final House Committee hearing before a floor vote for HF 950 passed Ways & Means by a 17-14 vote (thank you to the representatives who voted against it). Unionization will cost taxpayers $1 - $3 million every year in management costs alone, the CCAP program $4 million per year, increase childcare rates, and cost family childcare providers money they don't have to waste.
Minimum Taxpayer Costs    
May 2 House Ways & Means Committee AUDIO



Who would be unionized?

If the majority of ballots cast in the election are yes votes, all family childcare providers (licensed and unlicensed) who accept childcare Assistance Program (CCAP) payments for any children in their care would be exclusively represented by ASFCME. They would then be forced to pay AFSCME through union dues or "fair share" fees, no matter if or how they voted. Please note that this law does NOT involve child care centers, but family child care providers, all of whom work in their homes.

Wait! This law unionizes small business owners?

Yes. We are all independent, self-employed, small business owners. We set our own rates, hours, policies, vacation days, sick days, working conditions, etc. We choose which families to accept. Many providers have employees, assistants, and hire independent contractors who teach music, gymnastics, etc. What happens if our employees want to unionize? What makes us different than a grocery store that takes food stamps, landlords who accept Section 8 tenants, an independent construction worker who works on a government project, or chiropractors, doctors, or dentists who accept government health care?


Is it legal to unionize small business owners and employers?

No. It violates the U.S. Constitution and national labor law (NLRA). Employers are not allowed to unionize as it violates federal labor and anti-trust laws. This new law also says that family childcare providers who accept families on assistance will be public employees for the purpose of unionization. People cannot be both independent business owners and state employees.The rights of individuals should not be trampled on simply because a few (or even a majority) want something.

Isn’t it voluntary to join the union?

Union membership is voluntary; however, union representation and payment of "fair share" fees are not voluntary. Minnesota is a “Fair Share” state, so providers who do not want to join the union will have to pay "fair share" fees (typically 85% of regular dues), which will be deducted from CCAP payments before being sent to the provider. Providers will be forced to pay the union through membership dues or fair share fees; they will NOT have a choice. AFSCME wants to negotiate on issues besides CCAP rates, such as trainings, licensing regulations, grievance procedures, etc. Every licensed family childcare provider would be impacted by any of these changes, regardless of whether they want them.

How much will I have to pay?

Dues will not be determined until after a contract is negotiated. Minimum dues are $25/month, $300/year. Family childcare providers in Illinois pay up to $900/year and providers in New York pay $400 - $700/year, yet their subsidy rates have not increased. Most of the monthly amount goes to the international and national union, leaving little to be used in Minnesota.

Why not allow a vote?

Family childcare providers already have the choice to join the union now. After 8 years of having the option to join, approximately 100 family childcare providers have done so. The vote would exclude 50% of licensed family childcare providers, but it would give a vote to 75% of unlicensed family childcare providers who are no longer providing care. Childcare union elections in other states have typically been underpublicized, voter turnout has been low, and unlicensed providers are purposefully included to outnumber licensed providers.

Would Unlicensed providers be unionized with Licensed providers?

Yes. This law includes unlicensed family childcare providers, most of whom care for family members, with licensed family childcare providers who are required to follow regulations to ensure children's safety and optimal development. They are two distinct groups, though both groups love children. Unlicensed providers outnumber licensed providers in this proposed bargaining unit, giving them the majority in a vote and negotiations that will affect every licensed family childcare provider.

Will childcare unionization increase quality?

It has not been shown to increase quality in other states, and including licensed professionals with unlicensed providers won't increase quality. Family childcare providers set their own standards of quality as business owners and don't need a union to define quality. Quality improvement grants will be tied to unionization because providers can't accept a grant unless they're willing to care for a child on assistance. We'll have to choose between refusing a grant to improve our program or paying the union if we accept a child on assistance.

Will this give family childcare providers a voice?

Unionization does not offer family childcare providers anything we cannot already do ourselves. We already have a voice and a seat at the table, working with licensors, DHS, and legislators to ensure our questions and concerns are addressed. We already have state, city, and county childcare associations that work solely for licensed family childcare providers and the families we serve. Membership is voluntary and normally only $35 per year. Benefits include free monthly trainings, conferences, resources, and networking opportunities. Unfortunately, unionization will exclude these associations from the negotiations with the state.

AFSCME also represents many county and state licensing employees; how can the union address providers' grievances if they are on both sides of the table?

Do other states have childcare unions?

16 states have unionized family childcare providers. 7 states have repealed statues/executive orders or canceled the union contracts, leaving only 9 unionized states. Only 6 of those states have active union contracts. Only 4 out of the remaining states have limited unionization to providers who accept subsidies; the rest expanded to include all family childcare providers
Read more about it

What about health insurance?

In only 3 states have the unions negotiated health care coverage for a small percentage of providers, but NOT their families. There are strict eligibility requirements, such as being income-eligible, unqualified for public health care, caring for a child on assistance for at least 180 calendar days, and/or having at least 1 (4 in Washington) children on assistance. The unions may claim that their members have access to group health insurance rates, but we have yet to see proof.

Will the union be able to increase the subsidy rates?

Most states with childcare unions have not increased the subsidy rate. Legislators already have the power to change the subsidy rate if they deem it necessary. This benefits families, not providers. Childcare providers, including those who care for children on the subsidy program, determine their business rate. If the family’s subsidy amount does not cover the provider’s full rate, the provider can choose to charge the parents the difference, or assume the loss. It's part of being a business owner.

How do family childcare providers feel about this?

Family childcare providers have overwhelmingly said that they are against childcare unionization for the past 8 years, yet AFSCME, Governor Dayton, and most legislators have not listened to us. Every day, we make positive differences in the lives of Minnesota’s families, all without a union. We have been loving and working with children without a union and will continue to give children the best possible care without a union.