Saturday, December 24, 2011

Compromise, or snooker it my way?

Whenever there is an issue in Washington, or any state legislature or city council for that matter, the hew and cry for "compromise" springs up.  Usually asking one side to sacrifice their view, principles, or goals to come along side their more vocal opponents and vote their way.  That was not the traditional understanding of compromise.

Some definitions of compromise:
  • An agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.
  • A middle state between conflicting opinions or actions reached by mutual concession or modification.
  • The acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable.
The latest example of the compromise argument came with the efforts to extend the payroll (your future social security fund) tax holiday.  The essential argument was about how long to extend it.  For a two month period, which requires yet another repeat of the discussion and bashing starting up in a month, or for a full year, which gives businesses and people a stable environment to plan for.  There are some, National Payroll Reporting Consortium, who stated the two month plan cannot even be implemented properly in time.

However Rep Betty McCollum declares this could have been have been a failure to compromise, had Boehner not capitulated a day later.
December 19, 2011 -- Congresswoman McCollum's Remarks on the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Ac bet of 2011 (H.R. 3630)
This bill is likely to be a missed opportunity for true compromise. It does important things, such as extending the payroll tax cut for 160 million Americans and preventing a 27.4 percent cut to Minnesota physician reimbursements with a two-year fix.
Either plan would accomplish the main goals she states, but yet only one way, capitulation, constitutes a "compromise" for Betty McCollum, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and President Obama.  So is "compromise" still the case of mutual concessions, or has it become more about how it appears in the media?  An appearance that quite possibly accepts the lesser standard.

Saul Alinsky in “Rules for Radicals” gives light to the new use of "compromise" as a tool for victory
But to the organizer, compromise is a key and beautiful word. It is always present in the pragmatics of operation. It is making the deal, getting that vital breather, usually the victory. If you start with nothing, demand 100 per cent, then compromise for 30 per cent, you’re 30 per cent ahead. — P.59
A writer on the Daily Kos gives his view of compromise as a barrier to continuous progressive change.
There are many, many progressive conservatives in the Democratic party, of course, and even a few (well, one or two) progressive liberals in Congress. But if the Republican party is overwhelmingly regressive, and the Democratic party is largely progressive, what can be said of compromise between the two? What, exactly, is the middle ground between forward and backward?
The answer, I believe, explains a great deal about the current state of our government, our economy, and our nation. Furthermore, I believe it illustrates the ultimate futility of our President's slavish devotion to compromise between the regressive ideas of Washington Republicans and the progressive (if conservative) Democrats.
His creative, though flawed, use of a description of “regressive” vs “progressive” is interesting as a straw man, redefining the participants, to jump to  his conclusion.  The straw man fails in the light of the reality of the steady persistent change toward the progressive world view.  While it is not a strictly straight line trend, the reality is that with each compromise the "center point" shifts.  So the next compromise is based on the cumulative results of the previous compromises as the basis.  Thus creating an ultimately consistent march toward the progressive world view.  That is the meaning of Alinsky’s rule that each “compromise” is a victory and a tool for the radical to advance their agenda.

A story from  “Tom Brown's Schooldays” by Thomas Hughes evokes a clear vision of the new form of  “compromise”, and provides an excellent conclusion. [Note: Tom, et. al. are talking about a second Tom]
"Yes, he's a whole-hog man, is Tom. Must have the whole animal hair and teeth, claws and tail," laughed East. "Sooner have no bread any day than half the loaf."

"I don't know;" said Arthur - "it's rather puzzling; but ain't most right things got by proper compromises - I mean where the principle isn't given up?"

"That's just the point," said Tom; "I don't object to a compromise, where you don't give up your principle."

"Not you," said East laughingly. - "I know him of old, Arthur, and you'll find him out some day. There isn't such a reasonable fellow in the world, to hear him talk. He never wants anything but what's right and fair; only when you come to settle what's right and fair, it's everything that he wants, and nothing that you want. And that's his idea of a compromise. Give me the Brown compromise when I'm on his side."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tolerance, or how to marginalize those you don't agree with

Our traditional view of tolerance has always been understood to mean that we recognized and respected a person’s belief without actually sharing them. That meant we could have honest debate about issues, where opposing sides could argue their case with respect, and while not agreeing with the opposition, recognize their constitutional and natural right to hold their beliefs and opinions. The protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness [not necessarily achieving, that's up to you] was guaranteed for all.

However a new form and definition of "tolerance" began to morph our concepts and was exemplified in 1965 with the publication of the ideas of Herbert Marcuse in his essay “Repressive Tolerance”. Marcuse soon became known as "the father of the New Left in the United States", and this became one of its prime tenants.
Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: ... it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word.
Consequently, true pacification requires the withdrawal of tolerance before the deed, at the stage of communication in word, print, and picture. Such extreme suspension of the right of free speech and free assembly is indeed justified only if the whole of society is in extreme danger. I maintain that our society is in such an emergency situation, and that it has become the normal state of affairs. Different opinions and 'philosophies' can no longer compete peacefully for adherence and persuasion on rational grounds: the 'marketplace of ideas' is organized and delimited by those who determine the national and the individual interest.
This means that previously neutral, value-free, formal aspects of learning and teaching now become, on their own grounds and in their own right, political: learning to know the facts, the whole truth, and to comprehend it is radical criticism throughout, intellectual subversion.
This was changing the face of academia during the education of Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodam, and perhaps lead to the interpretation that seemed dominant during Clinton's Presidency, that tolerance meant you had to fully agree, or you were simply deemed intolerant.

This quote was attributed to Daniel Henninger, in a Wall Street Journal, editorial, Oct. 11, 2007 and puts the new concept in clear perspective for us
Prof. Fish has an alternative to traditions of tolerance, and to anyone awash in American politics today it will sound familiar: "That is to say, and Marcuse says it, anything the right does is bad and should not be tolerated; anything the left does is good and should be welcomed." This would explain the emotional intensity and animosity in politics now: The other side no longer deserves minimal respect.

It's not enough to disagree with conservative viewpoints; one has to undermine and delegitimize them. Mock them. Put them beyond the pale.
The extent to which the persistent drumbeat of this thuggish perverted view of tolerance has taken over in our institutions of  higher learning has been brought home to us in the story of Tom Emmer and Hamline University.
According to the policy, Hamline is "committed to ... developing and maintaining academic/co-curricular programs and university climate that promises a responsible, civil and open exchange of ideas.''

Hamline's apparent bungling of employment negotiations with Emmer suggests that commitment only goes so far, that conservatives such as Emmer are not welcome on campus.
One of the professors Emmer accused of blocking his hire disputed his characterization. Law professor David Schultz, a frequent political commentator, said he "wouldn't have cared one way or the other" if Emmer came on staff. Schultz acknowledged seeing a faculty member's email questioning whether the proposed hire was compatible with guidelines in the school's faculty handbook.
It still is unclear how much involvement the out-spoken political commentator/liberal advocate David Shultz may have been involved.  However its clear from other statements that he opposes the pro-marriage view of Tom Emmer and many Americans, which appears to be one of the main faculty objections given.

In an apparent contradiction of their policy statement:
"Hamline’s mission is “to create a diverse and collaborative community of learners dedicated to the development of students' knowledge, values, and skills for successful lives of leadership, scholarship, and service.” The Strategic Plan identifies as one of its goals that of becoming “an exemplar in the integration of diversity to achieve and sustain an inclusive community.”" 
Hamline appears to submit to the Marcuse camp of intolerance to views not agreeing with the liberal faculty, whether majority or "very vocal few".  Inclusive and diverse apparently means only those of a rather narrow world of progressive views, never conservative. It leaves one wondering what life might be like for conservative students.  Is it like the Japanese proverb "The nail that sticks out gets hammered down"? 

Hamline is a private university, and as such can hire, or not, whomever they wish (unless they had a contract).  Regardless of that proposition, the faculty appears to demonstrate dominance of the "new tolerance" bigotry in action and the bullying of all with conservative views. And shows how deeply and wide-spread the Marcuse philosophy of false tolerance has become in creating a climate of politically correct intimidation.  We are a far less free and tolerant society because of it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Truth in Taxation Public Hearings

On Tuesday Dec 13, 2011 Oakdale Finance Director Suzanne Warren gave the annual Truth in Taxation presentation at the Oakdale City Council public hearing.  The entire presentation can be seen in the video.

Some key highlights from her presentation were:

Key Objectives
“For 2012 one of our most significant objectives was to try to minimize property tax adjustments for our residents.  This proved pretty challenging for 2012, because there were some very significant changes in the state law that impacted how property taxes are allocated.  So that proved to be really significant challenge for Oakdale.”
This challenge was addressed by reducing the levy by $99,114 from the 2011 levy, following on reductions in prior years.
"Unfortunately no matter what we do, no matter how we do levies, it impacts each property differently.  Some properties are going to see an increase, some are going to see a decrease, and some are going to stay about the same.  The system is really a reallocation of property taxes depending on changing values and changing state law, so its pretty difficult to target a reduction for everybody."
Another key objective was to hold down the cost of government.  This was the fourth year that Oakdale’s budget has been frozen.  City departments have been required to absorb inflationary increases from fuel, labor, etc in their budgets.

Oakdale was one of only three cities in Washington County that actually reduced their levy.  Others had increases by as much as $719,858.  Washington county also decreased their levy.
“For citizens of Oakdale, I hope they appreciate what the City Council is doing to keep those property taxes down for residents”
I would also add plaudits for the City Staff who have worked very hard, as evidenced not only by the results, but demonstrated at the budget open working sessions held with staff and the City Council.

Ms. Warren continued with remarks discussing the details of how the City of Oakdale receives about 32.7% of the property tax revenue (School Dist 622 takes 36.2% Washington Cty 26.7%, and 4.3% others), and where those tax dollars will go.  I encourage you to listen to the complete presentation, and the following council discussion.  It is about 14 minutes for the initial presentation, 22 minutes for the entire discussion, and is an excellent summary of where your city finances stand. 

Mayor Carmen Sarrack concluded the taxation portion of the City Council meeting describing that the Council really gets into the budgeting process beginning in July and August.  He encouraged citizens to come and participate early to get their input into the budget.  Tonight’s meeting, “truth in taxation” is really more of an informational meeting about the results of the budgeting process.

Ramsey County also recently held their Truth in Taxation session at Roseville High School.  Video of that session is available online at my youtube channel, with citizen comments.
There is a dramatic difference between the paths that Ramsey County has taken and that of the City of Oakdale and Washington County.  Ramsey County had significant increases.  Residents testimony (beginning around 49 minutes into the event) showed some taxes increased by as much as 53% this year alone.  Testimony of 20+% increases were common. One woman testified that her taxes (on a modestly valued home) have increased over 10% each year for the last three years.  Though she has been a life long resident of Ramsey County, she plans to move out of the area, as she can no longer afford the taxes for her home.  The attested pattern of persistent double digit increases in Ramsey County show that the changes this year from the legislature may have an impact on the allocation of property tax (higher valued homes receive less or no credit), but is not the cause of multi-year substantial increases.  The cause in Ramsey County is more likely poor budget planning, and profligate governmental spending.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bullying, Do as I Say, Not as I Do

Bullying is something that practically everyone has experienced at some point in their lifetime.  It might have been the elementary school blustering bully who was more sound and fury, but like the character in The Christmas Story ran from the first kid who stood up to him.  It might have the been the High School bully who had created an image for his underlings which he tried desperately to maintain by striking out at anyone he believed was weaker.  Or it might have been a workplace bully, who manipulated through intimidation and fear for your job.  It is a flaw in human nature that civil society demands and must control for the safety and liberty of every citizen, young or old.

Recently articles have been written showing how schools are now starting up programs to fight Schoolyard Bullying, as in an article on the Patch
Talk of bullying often conjures up an image of a big kid—with lackeys in tow—pushing over a smaller kid on the playground while yelling something mean, but the word encompasses a much broader group of hurtful actions, said Cheryl Greene, a bullying prevention specialist working with School District 622.
The article also references actions taken by Governor Mark Dayton in forming a task force to address School Bullying
“Bullying causes severe suffering and harm to the children, who are its victims; and we must do more to stop it.  Children and parents in Minnesota should have confidence that their schools are safe places for learning and are free of harm or intimidation.  The work of this Task Force is critical to ensuring that a healthy and nurturing school environment exists for every child in our state,” said Governor Dayton.
Bullying and its prevention is completely about character.  The bully is an example of undeniably poor character, an example that can only be changed by development of moral character.  Moral development cannot be instilled in children if we do not practise it ourselves.  This was one of the few things in the public discussion a few years ago about “It Takes A Village” that was universally agreed to.

"Do as I Say, Not as I Do" or Raising Kids with Moral Intelligence
In his book, The Moral Lives of Children, Dr. Robert Coles defines our conscience as our "moral intelligence." More simply, he defines moral intelligence as how we behave—"moral behavior tested by life, lived out in the course of our everyday existence."
PBS NewsHour's David Gergen interviewed Coles several years ago and asked him how to encourage morality in our students, our children, and ourselves. Coles told Gergen that adults can only teach values by living them. "I'm trying insist upon for myself as a parent and a teacher and for all of us, that any lesson offered a child in an abstract manner that isn't backed up by deed is not going to work very well," Coles said. "We live out what we presumably want taught to our children. And our children are taking constant notice, and they're measuring us not by what we say but what we do."
With the recognition and urgency of how we want to protect children in our school system and our society, why does it seem so foreign in our political discourse?  If we practice bullying of those who we do not agree with ideologically, are we not setting an example of acceptance for bullying?  It can be as simple as continual ridicule of others, as purported by Alinsky’s Rule Number 5 in his Rules for Radicals 
Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.
or in his Rule 11, on personal destruction
Rule 11: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it. Don’t try to attack abstract corporations or bureaucracies. Identify a responsible individual. Ignore attempts to shift or spread the blame.
However the inescapable result of following such recommendations is what we see in the the plight of a teacher in Wisconsin.  She voiced her conscience and courageously acted on it, but has received a avalanche of bullying in return.

Union Radicals Harass Teacher Who Dared to Support Wisconsin Governor Walker
We suppose that’s not terribly surprising for a group that has to force its members to join.

Still, it’s troubling to hear that Kristi LaCroix, the courageous public school teacher who had the guts to film a television ad supporting Gov. Scott Walker’s reforms, is being harassed by union zealots to the point where she wants to change careers.
LaCroix, who teaches at Lakeview Technology Academy in the Kenosha school district, recently posted the following on her Facebook page, according a news story from WISN 1130:
“Going through and deleting my daily amount of hate mail that is sent to my work email. I have now been assured, by one of the emails (all of which I forward to my Principal) that there is an online movement called ‘Fire Kristi‘ where they are going to email, post and talk to everyone (telling) millions of stories to ruin my reputation, career and life.

So when the kids see this example played out before them, does it teach them that bullying is wrong and not to be tolerated?  Or does it guarantee defeat for the goals of creating an effective anti-bullying culture in schools. We have a broader mission than what a task force will address to correct the “do as I say not as I do” method of moral lessons.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dayton Daycare Diorama Part 2

Childcare Freedom Rally
When:     Saturday, December 3, Noon – 1:00PM
Where:     Minnesota State Capitol Routunda
Some highlight from the video of the Saint Paul Capital Rotunda Rally 12/03/2011
Daycare Providers
Holly Sable
This is not an anti-union rally, this is a child care freedom rally!
Do we need a Union to change our rates? No
Do we need a union to have a voice at the table? No
Do we need a Union to tells us which kids we can a cannot take? No
We are independent self employed small business owners.
While Union membership may be voluntary, union representation most certainly is not.  Any changes that the union makes with the department of Health and Human Services will affect all providers.
Only a majority of the ballots cast will count int he vote So not voting is essentially a vote for Unionization.  We need every provider that can vote to vote.
If you are eligible to vote you should be receiving a ballot around Dec 7, and they will be due Dec 21.  We are asking providers to send it in by Dec 16th, and send it via the post office via registered mail, so it doesn’t get “lost” in the mail, and so its there on time.

Becky Swanson
I am here today because I am living my American dream!  I am a small business owner, and I run a childcare.
We have no idea what is in that contract!

Rep. Keith Downy
You folks are the absolute core of private enterprise in this state and in this Country.
In Michigan under this very same apparatus,  $3.7 million dollars every year gets routed from Childcare subsidies away from parents, away from providers directly to the Unions.
Here is my commitment to you, that I will personally challenge Governor Dayton to hold a special session this fall so that all these unanswered questions about whether he has the authority or the bureau of mediation services has the authority to even conduct this election....If he’s willing to call for a special session to ask you folks to pay for a new stadium for another of his one percenter friends, he should be willing to have a special session to deal with your issues.  And if he refuses that,  I will publicly ask his to hold an American election,an American vote, not a North Korean vote on unionization!

Rep Mary Franson, also a former Child Care provider (at 22:48 in the video)
Providers are being silenced, their [union organizers] freedom of speech is what they think freedom of speech is - censorship!  And I don’t think the Unions are practising very much kindness out there.
One union person at the Senate hearing had the audacity to say we were having hearings on this issue because we were discriminating against women.  Let me tell you, this is nothing about discrimination.  As women, we do not need a Union telling us how to run our business because we are smart enough, we are empowered enough and we can do this without “one voice”.

They [the Unions] have been going door to door and if you are a no vote they are harassing and they are showing up at your door a couple of times a week wanting you to vote yes. One person told me that the Union said, well if you vote no and if the union vote fails you will no longer be eligible to take CCAP children any more.

If you are eligible to vote, because its “a democratic election you know”, some of you are eligible. Make sure you mark that box NO and mail it in.  Because like you heard before if you do not vote and you do not mail anything in, it is a yes vote.

[excluding a list of several other legislators who are or who have spouses who are day care providers] There are people down here who know your business inside and out.  So don’t let the Union tell you there is nobody down here working for you.  Because, indeed we are!

Rep Kurt Bills
Kim Crockett
Rep Kelby Woodard

Mary Franson’s speech was a very compelling personal testimony of her 4 years as a child care provider, and how in 2005 she experienced the first wave of attempted Unionization.  One I would strongly suggest listening to  She describes how AFSCME Council 5 organizers came at a time of the day when she and her neighbor who was also a provider were very busy, surrounded by children, and stayed until they signed the cards.  Day care providers by law cannot let any child out of their sight.  So you really cannot divide your attention to spend reading the literature and the cards when they come. 
[Sorry the rotunda has very low light, so the video quality is poor]

Freedom Foundation of Minnesota
11/22/11 Childcare providers who oppose unionization expressed concern over the fairness of the process and the potential for undue union influence in carrying out the election.

While the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) will oversee the election, Dayton’s executive order allows the state to in effect outsource the job to an outside group paid for by the unions. The Minneapolis regional office of a company that has conducted several childcare union elections in other states will administer the election.

Look True North has a short video of some Childcare providers putting forth their case against unionizing their small businesses.

A hearing was held at the Minnesota Senate
In this video the providers arguing against the forced unionization of their private business describe the many devious actions that agents of the “Kids First” Unions took in trying to get them to sign the union cards.  They have been trying to protect their business from continuing Unionization efforts since 2005.

The Unions talked about how “legal standing” differentiates them from the existing Childcare Associations that currently represent the providers.  But who is the “employer” that is part of the collective bargaining that this legal standing affects?  The Union rep dissembles and uses rigid repetition of the same phrases, never answering the questions, just repeating “providers have the right to form a Union”.  Apparently, even if they don’t want one, or know any of the particulars of the implementation.

On September 20th, 2011, two Senate committees held a joint hearing on Union efforts to compel independent in-home childcare providers to unionize. Union organizers couldn't answer basic questions about their objectives and childcare providers described deceptive and intimidating tactics employed by some union organizers. The hearing shed a lot of light on the situation. Here are some of the more revealing moments.

The question of whether Gov Mark Dayton has the authority to actually force this vote is the subject of a lawsuit announced last week.  A hearing for a temporary restraining order in the case is scheduled for Monday morning in Ramsey County District Court.

It was also reported that
The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration voted today to file a "friend of the court" brief in support of a lawsuit seeking to stop an upcoming unionization election for in-home child-care providers.
So the battle to keep private enterprise private is now in the hands of the court and possibly the 4230 of 11,000 daycare providers that may ultimately vote on the issue.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dayton Daycare Diorama Part 1

Recent moves by Governor Dayton, and the Unions to whom he owes many campaign debts, to force a vote on independent daycare unionization have been met with many complaints from the people they claim to want to help. Including a recent lawsuit contesting his authority to force such a vote by executive order.
But what problem is this trying to address?  Is there a problem with regulations or licensing?  Are there unfair practices from the management?  That imply a duality of worker/owner being unfair to themselves, which seems an unlikely case. 

Despite the objections raised, Governor Mark Dayton has forged ahead with plans that seem designed to help Unions get their Yes vote, while (or by) simultaneously disenfranchising as many individuals as possible.

Governor Dayton moving toward the direction of a vote for only providers serving CCAP families
11/11/2011 Licensed Family Child Care Providers met with Governor Dayton Thursday night, November 10, to express their opposition to the unionization of their businesses.

Governor Dayton informed providers that he is moving in the direction of signing an Executive Order establishing a vote including only Licensed Family Child Care Providers who are currently providing services to families on the child care assistance program (CCAP). This would make the overwhelming majority of licensed providers ineligible to vote. His intention is that union membership would be voluntary and the unions would only involve those licensed providers serving families who receive subsidies from the child care assistance program. It was indicated that this would be a small starting point and could be expanded in the future.

In a leaked email memo, distributed to DFL members of the Minnesota House, obtained by the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, and featured in a 5 Eyewitness News investigation, it was revealed that the “voluntary” would not be that voluntary.  It acknowledges the possibility/probabilty of forcing non-union members to pay fair-share fees, most of the “dues” with none of the voting privileges. Further  significant issues that Governor Dayton and the Unions have decided to either ignore or violate on the path to forcing this election, have been raised in studies at the Capital.

Legal Questions Could Jeopardize Minnesota Daycare Union Push
11/02/2011 A new Capitol study raises serious legal questions.
The House research study questions whether it is legal to unionize 11,000 daycare workers across Minnesota. Home daycare providers are considered independent contractors. The study says federal law specifically excludes independent contractors from forming a union.

The study also indicates taxes might have to be raised to cover any increases in state subsidies to daycare providers if there is a union, which then could bargain with the state for more taxpayer subsidies.

A position statement of the National Association for Family Child Care
Adopted July 2006
Best Practices for Family Child Care Union Organizing
The Issue: Family child care providers are being organized in an increasing number of states by several national unions that want to represent providers in collective bargaining with the state agencies regulating child care and funding child care subsidy programs. Because family child care providers do not fit any existing union workforce models, a new model must be established.

So this represents a radical change in workforce unions (as the leaked memo also states).  The people who operate daycare centers are private independent contractors.  They do not work for the state, nor for a corporation.  There is no “employer” for the union operatives to “negotiate” with for arbitration, and no particular need for such negotiation.  The private contractor discusses the work with a potential client, and has the right and authority to make the decision to accept or reject the work.  Will that even be the same under a Union?  Would they have the option to not take a client?  Daycare providers have said that Union workers, trying to get cards signed by the daycare workers, have employed devious methods to get signatures to use to support unionization. 

Detroit Lakes Online
November 25, 2011 On Monday night, about a dozen day care providers in Becker County met to discuss what the vote could mean for them.
“What it comes down to, he had no right to do this and he did,” Jane Young, of Frazee, said of Dayton.
Providers say that those trying to organize the union have been “underhanded” in showing up at lunchtime at their daycares and not identifying who they are. Instead, they ask providers to sign a card, asking for more information. But, they believe it was actually a way to get signatures saying they supported joining a union.
One new twist being added to this year’s vote — the issue also went to a vote and failed in 2006 — is that only those day cares receiving state subsidies can vote on becoming unionized.
That means only about 4,000 of the 11,000 daycare providers will receive the mail-in ballots.
Provider Terrie Boyd, of Detroit Lakes, said that whether or not a daycare has families that are subsidized is “always fluid though” because a family might use assistance, but then they leave and there are no assisted families at that provider.
And, the providers pointed out, it’s the families being subsidized, not the daycare providers.
Regardless, next month, those 4,287 providers with a vote will vote yes or no on a union.  Membership will be voluntary if providers approve the unionization.
Some Becker County providers are saying the vote is highly unfair and that the state and unions are limiting the number of voters in order to pass the vote in favor of unionization.
Dayton Won't Revise Child Care Union Vote Order
Monday, 21 Nov 2011 "I am one of more than half the child care providers in Minnesota who do not get a vote, but the union seat at the table with DHS to discuss things like license regulations, rating system training, payment rates, et cetetera, will -- in turn -- affect the same rules that govern my private business," said Dina Spurgin.
Cyndi Cunningham, another home day care provider, said the political banter around the issue is angering her.
"With all due respect, this is our business. This is our livelihood," she said.

So what are the motivations for trying to unionize a group of businesses and people so dissimilar from the normal union membership?  CBS offered one partial suggestion.

Reality Check: Unionizing Day Care
Nov 16, 2011 Only 5300 of Minnesota’s 11,000 private in-home providers get public subsidies, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Subsidies which are widely different based on a parent’s income and county.
Privately funded day care providers and parents are not affected.
The families of nearly 34,000 children get low-income subsidies in Minnesota, averaging about $900 a month. One purpose of a union is to pressure the state from cutting that money.

The leaked memo offers others and admits it might be more about Union plans to expand membership, rather than any real labor workplace concerns.

The memo is available on Scribd and at Freedom Foundation of Minnesota
There is a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding regarding this issue.  Much of this stems from the fact that what AFSCME and SEIU are pushing for is very different from the traditional employee union-collective bargaining scenario.  Child care providers do not fit in to the traditional union model, which, by definition includes employees, employers, and a collective bargaining agreement.
… Further the contract that  AFSCME and SEIU would like to forge would not address wages and benefits like a traditional bargaining agreement.
A concern over declining union membership and the need to target a new segment of the private sector workforce—independent contractors—also surfaces as a concern. “Representatives from AFSCME and SEIU emphasize that organizing independent contractors for collective bargaining may become commonplace in the future. With the decline of the traditional union workplace, a union of independent contractors might become a new kind of organizing for a new economy.”
It also states:
Proponents of the unionization effort have not identified any specific regulations that they find unduly burdensome an would like to change.
Proponents of a child care provider union have repeatedly said that a union would not attempt to influence the rates child care providers charge their parent-customers.

The memo further raises the possibility of compensating labor unions directly with state funding intended to subsidize low-income childcare

Which really leaves unanswered the question of what benefit any unionization would provide. Child care independent contractors already have an advocacy association that they can freely join, Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association.  There are no "benefits" listed that are not already present.  It would seem the major benefits are to the dwindling rolls of the unions and boosting their flagging influence.  A benefit that does not translate well to the independent contractor day care providers or their parent clients.  As the only goal they provide in the letter, the taxpayers will be certain of being required to increase taxes for more subsidy payments to the low income clients.  With a significant potential revenue for the Unions, and significant increases in parents costs.   As in other states, that have unionized child care, have experienced an average 35% increased cost.  So if you are one of the few childcare workers who are able to vote, make sure you know what you are entering into.  And know that abstaining is a Yes vote.