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Is the Dayton administration trying to prevent PCAs from winning a new union election?

MNPCA is a coalition of home-based personal care attendants (PCAs) who care for persons with disabilities in their homes under a Medicaid program. In most cases, the PCA is a woman caring for a family member though we estimate that about 20 percent are not relatives. These PCAs were unionized as “state employees” in 2014. If that seems odd to you, you are not alone (and can read more on how this happened at MNPCA.org FAQ). Shortly after being unionized, the State and SEIU signed a “collective bargaining agreement” even though all the benefits under the contract must be funded by Congress...

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Decertification Effort Against SEIU on FOX News and Star Tribune

Center of the American Experiment and Minnesota Personal Care Attendants (MNPCA) hosted a well-attended press conference at the State Capitol on Wednesday, October 19th to announce a lawsuit recently filed against three state agencies. They also provided an update about their effort to decertify the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The event was front page news in the “Minnesota” section of the Star Tribune and got a long, very good segment on the evening news on FOX9 . MNPCA, a coalition of Personal Care Attendants (PCAs), is seeking to decertify the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) PCA bargaining unit. The union...

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Trump releases Child Care Plan. Doesn’t the president, even Congress, have more important things to do?

It’s a very silly season, even for Minnesota. We have cities adopting or thinking about adopting laws that tell private employers what to pay workers, how to manage paid time off for illness, parental leave and other conditions of employment. Campaigns to raise the minimum wage dominate the news. The Center will discuss a lot of these issues next week at the lunch forum on the Minimum Wage . The Trump campaign, championed by daughter Ivanka Trump, released its own “New Child Care Plan.” Presumably candidate Clinton has one of her own, along with policy prescriptions on minimum wage, parental leave...

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Little League baseball: Youth sports’ lessons are lasting

Here’s a sports story that climbs even higher than Colin Kaepernick’s backside sinks low. The Little League baseball team from Maine-Endwell, New York, won the 2016 United States championship last Saturday, beating a team from Tennessee 4-2, and then won the championship of the whole wide world on Sunday, beating a team from South Korea 2-1, all in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I assume I wouldn’t be writing about this if I hadn’t lived only a few miles from Endwell when I lived in upstate New York in the late '60s and early '70s. But I found myself taking chauvinistic pride in how well...

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The Mamaw of All Elegies

After reading an excellent essay about “Two Underclasses” in the current issue of “National Review” by J. J. Vance, who also is author of the applauded new book “Hillbilly Elegy,” one of my first thoughts was that as important conservative voices go, his was certainly emerging.  But I quickly corrected myself, recognizing that he and his voice already were fully emerged, and vitally so. Vance and his remarkable background are coming to be well known in select quarters.  A son of Appalachia and the Rust Belt, he managed to escape disorganization and dysfunction (as sociologists might put it) by way of...

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When Public Officials Read Troubled Situations Less Well than Troubled Kids Actually Read

In a Star Tribune story last week (July 28) about another year of no progress to speak of by students on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments – with exactly the same holding true with reducing achievement gaps between white kids and kids of color – Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius is cited as saying that problems outside of educators’ control such as homelessness and family income are at least partial causes. The commissioner is absolutely right – at least partially.  But what she didn’t say, what people in government hardly ever say (as witness last month’s Republican and Democratic national conventions) is...

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Meet Kris Greene, Minnesota’s Quiet Mama Bear

I met Kris Greene several years ago. We were in federal court, listening to arguments in a case she and other parents brought in an attempt to stop Governor Dayton from inviting a union to speak for them, or even worse, interfering with how they care for their disabled family members. On the steps of the courthouse she quietly but firmly told me, “I don’t want a union getting between me and my daughter.” As a fellow mama bear, I immediately related to Kris Greene. Kris Greene’s daughter is a beautiful, disabled adult who will never live on her own. Taxpayers have generously...

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Families and the Fourth

The July 4th holiday means family for many Minnesotans--reunions, backyard cookouts and fireworks.  American Experiment’s Mitch Pearlstein recently collected insights and ideas from 36 thinkers from across the country on what our society can do to better support the family structure and encourage parents to make the commitment to strengthen family bonds. The Fargo Forum published Mitch’s thoughts on this July 4th weekend. Thirty years ago this summer, I was an editorial writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and had a chance to interview Bill Bennett, who was secretary of education at the time in the Reagan administration. About a...

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Going Forth on the Fourth

Putting on my sociological hat – which sits to the right of where most social science headgear sits atop others – I can list any number of reasons why many Americans have extra tall hurdles to leap. To start there’s poverty. Add extraordinary numbers of young people who are forced to grow up with missing parents. While claims of racism and other forms of discrimination are regularly overstated, that doesn’t mean they’re never on-target. Perverse peer pressures can be paralyzing academically and in other ways. For people with weak skills, increasingly demanding job markets make earning a decent living and supporting a family increasingly difficult. Many...

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An Extra-Modest Word about Fathers on Their Day

Despite all the writing I’ve done about the sad and damaging effects of family fragmentation, my “operative” view of fatherhood – surprisingly, I trust to many – is a rather minimalist and non-romanticized one.  This is the case since I don’t argue or even hope for fathers being immersed in their children’s live in the kinds of intense ways some seek. For instance, as long as it doesn’t upset their wives or other divine relationships they may have, I don’t see it as required that husbands change any diapers.  It surely would be nice if they did, but it’s not imperative...

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