The following letter was written by State Rep. John T. Shaban , a Republican who represents Easton, Redding and Weston.
Gov. Dannel Malloy last week paved the way for small daycare providers and personal care attendants to collectively bargain with the state?a move that could benefit unions at the expense of taxpayers, families and elderly residents who need these services, state Rep. John Shaban said Friday.
The governor Wednesday bypassed House and Senate lawmakers by signing executive orders to form two panels charged with creating a method to unionize small daycare providers and personal care attendants, seemingly ignoring the legislature's bipartisan decision to shelve similar proposals. The orders also allow daycare workers and personal care assistants to choose a "majority representative," or a union, to represent them in nonbinding discussions with the state over issues such as compensation, training and professional development. Once chosen, unions can begin collecting voluntary dues to grow their coffers.
Shaban, who serves on the legislature's Finance Committee, noted that during the last legislative session, lawmakers saw elderly and disabled residents?the employers of personal care attendants?testify against the push to give their aides collective bargaining rights.
"Folks were concerned that increased wages, for one, could lead to fewer hours of service, which would then make independent living more difficult," Shaban said.
Malloy's childcare order applies to providers who accept subsidies through the state's Care 4 Kids program?specifically, family daycare providers with six or fewer children. It also applies to unlicensed, informal daycare workers. "Despite the legislature tabling the effort," Shaban said, "the governor's goal appears to be securing increased or wages and benefits for these workers, all at the expense of the state taxpayer."
Shaban, among others, is concerned that the orders could also be a backdoor move to enable the state to grab a larger role in daycare coverage, policies and curricula, which could in turn effect and compete with private daycare centers.
"On the threshold of our 'jobs' special session," Shaban said, "I don't like seeing the state?or more specifically, the governor?take unilateral action that might again drive up costs for private employers."
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.
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