Of the services you employ on a regular basis, there may be none of greater import than the care of your children. It’s a tremendous responsibility which you delegate with extreme diligence. There is little margin for error, and it is unlikely you would tolerate many shenanigans from your provider.
Of course, that is predicated upon the notion of choice. You may impose your expectations upon your provider because you have the option to take your child and your money elsewhere.
What if you didn’t have that choice? What if competing providers were banned and you were forced to deal with a monopoly on its terms? Suddenly, your expectations would take a back seat. With nowhere else to go, you would work with what you had or not at all.
Such is the vision of the Association of Federal, State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They have succeeded in unionizing home-based childcare providers in 14 states, and are working hard to add to that list.
But wait. How does that work? How do home-based childcare providers unionize? They’re self-employed, aren’t they? What, do they picket their own front yard? Not exactly.
Many of these home-based providers have customers who receive state subsidies for childcare. As the unions see it, such second-hand subsidy effectively turns providers into employees of the state. As such, it is said that they ought to be able to organize as state employees and collectively bargain for larger subsidies and favorable regulation.
It’s an extremely creative argument which if applied universally could expand union membership dramatically. At the risk of giving them ideas, imagine the same logic applied to grocers and gas stations. EBT is a subsidy after all. Doesn’t that make every mom and pop corner store a subsidiary of the state? That’s certainly the style of argument.