Daycare provider gets governor to rescind union dues

By Maggie Hockenberry

Published 08/04 2014 05:43PM

Updated 08/04 2014 06:30PM

ILLINOIS -- Daycare operators around the state will soon be saving money. A Casey woman says she was paying for something she shouldn't have had to. Now, her efforts have led to a change in state policy. WCIA-3's Maggie Hockenberry has more.

Laura Baston read about Harris vs. Quinn; a case where a woman fought for the rights of state employees in June. Baston knew she had a chance to change the policy.

"I don't like my money going to causes I don't like and to elected officials I don't want to be in office."

Baston runs her own daycare. She says she's been paying union dues for years and it's not something she wants.

"I'm completely relieved, I mean, this has been going on for such a long time and they're taking my money."

She receives state subsidies for the children she cares for. The union asks her to charge more, but that's not an option for her.

"I don't have anybody to negotiate for me or tell me what I have to charge."

Baston has been in business for 25 years. She says the union made her pay nearly $20 per month in dues. This began under the watch of former governor Rod Blagojevich and she said it had to change.

"I couldn't do very much by myself and so, with them and me together, they've been a big part of it."

Baston wrote a letter to Governor Quinn asking for her union membership to be optional.

"This past Thursday, I received a letter from they saying that they were going to go back to July first on retroactive and we would not have to pay the dues anymore."

The letter states:

        Fair share deductions will stop for services conducted after July 1, 2014.
        Payment for any services conducted after July and beyond will no longer
        include the fair share "agency fee" unless the provider has signed a
        membership card for full union membership, in which case, the full
        membership dues will be deducted.

Baston says she never expected to make the change.

"I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders knowing it's done."

Baston says she was asked to speak at a Freedom Conference in Minnesota next week. Baston says she didn't do this just for herself, but all other providers. She says the change has an effect on the entire state.

The Department of Family Services reports there are 3,000 daycare centers in the state, 8,000 daycare homes, 700 group daycares and more than 200,000 children being cared for.

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