Policy: Labor

Minnesota child care workers ask judge to halt unionization law

By |
Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Labor unions,Labor,Minnesota,Analysis

Child care workers who receive state subsidies asked a St.Paul, Minnesota judge Thursday to halt efforts to implement a new state law that makes them eligible for unionization drives.

A dozen child care workers represented by National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation said implementation of the law should be halted until the two federal lawsuits against it are settled. Otherwise they could find themselves forced into joining a union.

The law essentially says that childcare workers and those who provide care to the elderly and the disabled are effectively state employees if they receive subsidies. Therefore they can also belong to public sector unions.

Since by definition these workers do not have a common workplace, any union organizing would be done by card check. Once the union organizers get just above 50 percent of the subsidy recipients signed up it to join, they could then request recognition from the state.

The other recipients, potentially just under 50 percent of them, could then wake up to find they now owe dues to a union without ever having voted on the matter or even been contacted about it.

“I don’t need to be offering a hand up to someone while someone else has a hand in my back pocket, taking the money back out,” plaintiff Terrie Boyd told Minnesota Public Radio, referring to the fact that she might find herself forced to pay union dues.

The state is opposing any halting of the law, arguing that would hurt the rights of child care workers who do wanted to be unionized.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said the plaintiffs were “throwing their little fits trying to throw sand in the machinery and delay.”

The Minnesota House passed the law by a narrow 68-66 vote in May.

View article comments Leave a comment