Apr 28, 2010

Senate Republicans continue to attack unions at expense of kids

LANSING -- A hearing of the Senate Appropriations Human Services Subcommittee on Tuesday that sets the budget for the Department of Human Services proved Senate Republicans will do anything to kill unions.

Last year child care workers organized the Child Care Providers Together Michigan (CCPTM) union, a joint venture between United Auto Workers (UAW) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

The Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) certified CCPTM as the sole bargaining unit for all home-based child care providers receiving reimbursement payments from the Michigan Child Development and Care Program, and the contract calls for all in-home providers who care for Department of Human Services subsidy eligible children to pay union dues. Because of that, Sen. Bill Hardiman, R-Kentwood, chair of the appropriations committee, made it clear that at least the Senate version of the budget will be more clear for the coming year: no state funds for the Home-Based Child Care Coordinating Council.

The Michigan Quality Community Care Council, a standalone public body created by inter-local agreement under the Urban Cooperation Act of 1967, is charged with the mission of improving professional development opportunities for home based child care providers.

“I just think it’s wrong, and it’s my intention to present a budget that does not fund the Quality Community Care Council,” he said.

Rev. Larry Simmons, chair of the council, said it has provided value to child care providers and parents, and the council is a group of volunteers from around the state coming together to help a group of people who have been completely ignored for 15 years. He said child care providers have been excited about the training opportunities that have been provided through the council.

“I believe this is the most exploited workers or business owners in the state,” Simmons said. “These folks went 10 years without an increase in rates.”

I have no idea why Republicans hate the Democratic process and the working class so much. It’s hard enough to get people to sign a card to establish a union, and once they do that a further roadblock is thrown up and an election is held. A majority of home-based child care providers voted for a union, so Republicans are looking for another way to stop the union.

The rightwing, anti-union think tank the Mackinac Center and its newly formed Legal Foundation has been attacking the Child Care Providers since it was formed. They filed a lawsuit claming that because not everybody voted, the election is somehow invalid. The Michigan Court of Appeals rejected that ridiculous claim, so while the case is under appeal, they turned to the Legislature where the anti-union Republicans were very receptive by introducing some bills.

The Republicans have been pushing to make Michigan a so-called “right to work” state to kill the union and have failed. Hardiman’s action to kill this union is similar to that action.

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