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Thank you for the opportunity for me to address my concerns regarding SF778 and companion file HF950.

This is not a union or anti-union issue, my concern is the problematic wording of the proposed bill. With over 44 years of being a union supporter and as the local 3400 founding convention chair and elected Vice President for CCPT local 3400 AFSCME I have since asked for my card back due to the lack understanding of Greater Minnesota provider needs and unethical tactics in signing unlicensed providers purpose of attaining votes. AFSCME and SEIU unions have agreed that SEIU would take the statewide jurisdictional lead in organizing the Personal Care Attendants and AFSCME would gain the SEIU family child care members. With CCPT local 3400 only having 57 dues paying licensed family child care provider members, (AFSCME Council 5 Stepping Up Nov/2012) Council 5 has stepped up efforts to sign legally unlicensed providers throughout the state. Legally unlicensed providers are a mere pawn in the numbers game to obtain votes. Legally unlicensed providers only need to have a background check, CPR and First Aid training to gain the Legally Unlicensed status. There are no regulations, no system of monitoring, no sanctions, no training, no license fees, no fire marshal inspections required of legally unlicensed providers. The union is counting on the more than 4,000 legally unlicensed providers receiving CCAP (Child Care Assistance Payments) to push the vote; a number that is almost equal to those of us that are legally licensed. Those numbers should be of grave concern to DHS and MDE in regards to kindergarten readiness. The ability to vote has been limited to only licensed and legally unlicensed providers that are receiving CCAP payments. About 6,000 licensed providers will be left out of the vote. Shouldnt this be a vote of all licensed providers and only licensed providers? Our right to vote is being taking away. Dues will be deducted from CCAP payments. The CCAP money is parental money as deemed by the 2003 legislature, (119B.09, subdivision 10) that changed the manner in which providers received the reimbursement funds. The union vote must include all licensed providers. Joining a union should be voluntary. Legally unlicensed providers should not be able to vote on issues affecting the pulse of the licensed family childcare professional community. Providers should have the ability to choose which organizations they want to sit at the bargaining table; whether it be AFSMCE, MLFCCA, Think Small, etc. We are not state employees, do not receive state benefits and should be able to decide our own fate. As individual self employed providers, we should be able to choose which representation we prefer as well as the right to vote. Katherine Stevens Crow Wing County Licensed Family Child Care Provider since 1994
218-764-3447