Legislation that would allow child care providers and personal care assistants to unionize was defeated in the Senate Finance Committee on Monday. The surprise legislative setback came in the final committee before the bill would have been taken up on the Senate floor.
Two Senate DFLers — Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka, and Barb Goodwin of Columbia Heights — joined all Republicans in voting against the measure, resulting in a deadlocked, 11-11 vote.
Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, the lead author of the bill, insisted that the measure isn’t dead. She plans to ask the Finance Committee to take up the bill again on Tuesday and move it through without recommendation so that it can get a vote before the full Senate. If that happens, it would be the third Senate committee in which the legislation has advanced without a vote in favor of it.
“These are difficult decisions to make and members are often torn about it,” Pappas said after the hearing. “I just think that the entire Senate should take a vote on this and that we deserve to have a full vote.”
Similar legislation in the House has faced a less rocky path. It has cleared six committees and is poised to be taken up on the House floor.
The legislation is a top priority for organized labor, particularly AFSCME Council 5 and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, the two unions working to organize child care workers and personal care assistants respectively.
Eliot Seide, AFSCME Council 5’s executive director, said after the hearing that they will continue to lobby to get the bill passed this year. “In a legislative process there are always ups and downs and setbacks,” Seide said. “We consider this a temporary setback.”