Don't join a union, but pay the dues anyway?

Letter to the editor

— I’m a small business owner. I provide child care out of my home and help to educate the youth of today while still keeping within the standards the state has set forth. I’m not a state employee and I’m not a union worker. Just like all small business owners I follow the rules and am happy to do so as long as the state allows me the ability to establish my own . I do not wish to be unionized and have yet to see the benefits that the AFT continues to tout, such as increases in pay, more and/or better professional development opportunities and a stronger voice. Instead I see exactly what I get right now minus my individual voice and with the added expense of agency fees.

If a union is allowed and I elect not to be a member, I would still have to pay my 'fair share' agency fees. An added expense which would reduce my bottom line as a self employed person. Being a member of the union will not benefit the children or families I serve, and certainly not benefit my business. Why should I pay for something I do not want? Or, why would I want to be part of something that will not give me anything I do not already have? Something that I didn't even ask for.

As a self-employed child care provider, I set my own rates. The State does not set my rate and I do not have a different rate for children whose families receive subsidy assistance. Increasing subsidy rates will not increase my pay. It would only benefit the families that receive that assistance. Furthermore, it is likely that subsidy rates will increase this term without the assistance from a union.

As a state registered child care provider I am required to take professional development courses annually. I have never had to pay for any course and have found the courses I have taken to be very helpful and insightful. There is an abundance of opportunities available to me for professional development. Free courses at Mary Johnson Child Care Center, a 'Start With the Arts' Program through the VSO, Northern Lights, etc. I can not imagine how much more a union could do in a State where there are so many opportunities for professional development that we need a map to see them all.

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