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. Richard Smith 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.
“The State is going broke and the Governor continues to find ways to add to our debt,” said Smith, a first-year legislator who serves on the legislature’s Finance Committee. “It is hard to fathom how out of touch the Executive Office is with the economic hardship facing our State.”
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.
Smith, 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 were all hoping for less government and less regulation,” Smith said. “Instead, we can expect our government to continue to grow with more taxes to sustain the girth.”
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 are chosen, to begin collecting dues from both sets of workers on a voluntary basis. Smith considers the growth of the union coffers a return favor to the union community for accepting the employee concessions deal the Governor 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.