ST. PAUL, Minn. — Opponents of an effort to unionize family child-care providers have long suspected — but could never prove — that some taxpayer money designated for training was instead used for union organizing.
There now appears to be a smoking gun that supports their allegation — mandated disclosure forms, uncovered by Watchdog Minnesota Bureau, were filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Two LM-2 annual financial reports filled out by AFSME Council 5 in 2011 and 2012 show $33,300 in taxpayer money from Ramsey County DHS — Department of Community Human Services — were categorized as an “organizing reimbursement” and apparently spent on organizing for a controversial child-care providers’ union.
“It angers me that my tax money is going to do the one thing that is going to hurt me,” said Cyndi Cunningham, an opponent of a provider union who operates her own St. Paul child-care business.
”It’s not just Ramsey County’s money, it’s my tax money. I’m paying to have somebody organize against me.”
The payments listed in the LM-2 filings correspond with disbursements for training purposes by the Ramsey County Department of Community Human Services to AFSCME Council 5 and its affiliate, Child Care Providers Together.
AFSCME reported receiving from Ramsey County $19,885 in 2011 and $13,453 in 2012 for the purpose of organizing. Altogether, more than half of the $59,600 in Ramsey County taxpayer money received by the union and CCPT since 2010 has been spent on organizing, according to the LM-2 reports and county finance records.