HARTFORD — The governor last week paved the way for small daycare providers and personal care attendants to collectively bargain with the state, reaffirming his support for unions at the expense of taxpayers, families, and elderly and disabled residents who need help caring for themselves, state Rep. John Rigby said today.
Gov. Dannel Malloy on Wednesday bypassed House and Senate lawmakers by enacting executive orders creating two panels with the explicit goal of figuring out how to unionize both sets of workers, seemingly ignoring the legislature’s decision to shelve controversial proposals that pursued a similar mission. The orders also allow daycare workers and personal care assistants to move forward in choosing a “majority representative,” or union, to represent them in nonbinding discussions with the state over issues such as compensation, training and professional development.
“Employee unions already enjoy a tremendous grip on this state and its government, and the governor’s actions this week are a move toward strengthening their foothold,” said Rigby, ranking member of the legislature’s Labor Committee. “Amazingly, he’s chosen to do this at a time when many residents and businesses are clamoring for less bureaucracy, a less expensive government and a clearer view of the role labor organizations play in creating public policy.”
Malloy’s order regarding childcare applies to providers who accept subsidies through the state’s Care 4 Kids program, specifically family day care providers—six or fewer children. It also applies to unlicensed, informal day care workers. His eventual goal is to see all of those workers receive increased subsidies, or wages, from the state.
Rigby, among others, wonders how the state will cover the bill. What’s more, he fears the controversial policy is a backdoor move allowing the state to grab a larger role in daycare policies and curriculum while creating a wide network of state-funded child care centers that will compete with those that employ more people.
“We have a sky-high unemployment rate in this state, yet our governor, who claims to be ‘business-friendly,’ is pushing policies that have the potential of forcing some businesses to close their doors,” Rigby said. “It doesn’t make sense.”
During the last legislative session, lawmakers saw elderly and disabled residents—considered employers of personal care attendants—testify against the push to give their aides collective bargaining rights. Increased wages, for one, could lead to fewer hours of service, which could make independent living difficult, they said.
Malloy’s executive orders also allow “majority representatives,” after they’re chosen, to begin collecting dues from both sets of workers on a voluntary basis. Their coffers would grow, and Rigby considers that a return favor to the union community for accepting the employee concessions deal he trumpeted in the spring and summer.
Both panels created by Malloy’s executive orders must report their findings regarding unionization to the governor before the start of the legislative session in February.