State child care union drive opponents appeal fed. case

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, August 7, 2013

ST. PAUL — Opponents of an effort to unionize thousands of Minnesota home day care providers filed an appeal on Tuesday of a federal judge’s ruling dismissing their case.

The plaintiffs, a group of day care operators, filed with to the U.S. Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. They’re asking the court for an injunction of the union drive while the appeal is considered.

The plaintiffs say in their appeal that they are private business owners and that being forced to associate with a union would violate their First Amendment rights.

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Democrats who control the Legislature approved the union organizing drive in May. The GOP has accused legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton of paying back union allies, but the governor and other supporters of the law say it simply allows home day care providers to vote on whether to form a union.

Judge Michael Davis ruled last week that the opponents’ lawsuit was premature. He said they weren’t able to prove actual harm from the process that lawmakers have laid out, and that the plaintiffs were asking him to rule on a speculative scenario.

The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees is seeking to unionize home day care workers and was authorized to begin its organizing drive as of Aug. 1. The injunction sought by the plaintiffs would put that on hold.

The plaintiffs are seeking a court hearing on their request for an injunction.