A Ramsey County judge has put a halt to Gov. Mark Dayton’s move to hold an election for daycare providers to vote on joining a union.
Judge Dale Lindman’s ruling put a temporary end to the contentious issue of allowing about 4,300 daycare providers who receive financial subsidies from a state program to hold a unionization election.
Last month, Dayton issued an executive order that directed the state Bureau of Mediation Services to hold an election in which daycare providers would decide if they want to join AFSCME Council 5 and SEIU Kids First Local 284. The mail-in ballots were supposed to be returned by December 20.
Republicans pushed back against Dayton and argued he overstepped his authority in issuing the order.
After a three-hour hearing, Lindman issued a temporary restraining order and ruled that the Legislature should decide the issue.
Unions have spent years trying to organize daycare providers and have put pressure on the DFL governor to advance their cause.
Dayton issued an e-mailed response saying he would continue to pursue daycare unionization:
“I respect the decision of the court today. I am pleased the court was clear that I did not misuse my authority in issuing the executive order. I have asked to meet with the attorney general to determine our next steps.
“I continue to believe that in a democracy, people should have rights to elections to determine their own destinies.”
Senate Republican leader Amy Koch hailed the ruling:
“The unionization of child care providers has been a long-time goal of AFSCME and SEIU and the governor’s attempt appears to be payoff for political support he received from those unions in the 2010 election,” Koch said. “Minnesota’s private child care providers represent the type of entrepreneurship that we encourage in today’s economy. What we don’t need is government overreaching into an already highly and carefully regulated industry to expand the power and influence of public union organizations in the state. Decisions regarding our children’s care should be made between parents and their child care providers.”