Child Care Worker Unionization Bill Fails In Senate Committee

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Legislation that would allow child care providers to unionize has been derailed in the Vermont Senate.

The Economic Development and Commerce committee voted to reject the bill on a 3-2 vote.

Backers of the bill said it was needed, in part, to give smaller child care providers the clout they need to call for higher subsidies from the state.

Rutland Senator Kevin Mullin is the chairman of the panel. He says he voted against the bill because he thinks it sets a "dangerous precedent."

"An analogy that I drew from that for example you could make an argument that landlords in the state of Vermont could create a union because they’re receiving subsidized rent," said Mullin. "So it was dangerous ground that I think really didn’t make a lot of sense."

Chittenden Senator Philip Baruth voted in favor of the legislation because he felt it was the most effective way to boost care child subsidies.

"It’s not the best solution to the problem it’s not the most direct but it was a viable solution," said Baruth. "And with this bill now possibly dead I don’t see another viable solution especially in the era of sequester and a budget that’s got a big shortfall."

Senator Mullin agrees that current child care subsidies are too low but he favors a different solution to this problem.

"The real key is for the committee to start focusing on economic development efforts that will raise the level of incomes in the state of Vermont and start to create a tax base that can generate new programs," said Mullin. "And until we do that we really can’t be going down the path of any new programs."

The full Senate could still consider the bill if an amendment is offered to an appropriate piece of legislation.

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