Sen. Torrey Westrom: One step closer to unionized childcare
On Sunday, July 28, federal judge Michael Davis issued a ruling dismissing two cases brought on by childcare providers who oppose unionization efforts.
The first lawsuit had two arguments. First, the daycare providers argued that federal law preempts state law. The judge ruled that the claim was not "ripe." He disputed that too many contingencies must occur before the law could even conceivably be unconstitutional. Because it is not ripe and there is no current injury incurred by the plaintiffs (childcare providers), he dismissed the argument.
The second argument was that the non-subsidized providers' rights are being violated based on Equal Protection because they will not have a say in the union. The judge does grant that this claim is ripe, but ruled against the providers on the merits because they are not "similarly situated" under law. This is because the state has an interest in negotiating with providers it subsidizes, but does not have an interest in negotiating with those it does not.
In the second lawsuit, the claim was that childcare providers should not be forced to join a union under the First Amendment (freedom of association). The judge ruled that it is too early and too much would have to happen to make this claim ripe, so it was dismissed.
You can find the Pioneer Press article about this issue here: http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_23750885/minnesota-drive-unionize....
As of Aug. 1, 2013, any employee union wishing to represent child care providers may seek exclusive representation. Representation elections for providers must be conducted once a union demonstrates that at least 30 percent of providers have petitioned for an election. The providers on the most recent monthly list compiled by Bureau of Mediation Services are eligible to vote. Under the general Public Employees Labor Relations Act law, a collective bargaining unit is formed after it is approved by a majority of those voting. Daycare providers need to pay close attention to this issue as it will drastically affect their business depending on if they want to be unionized or not.
Childcare provider unionization will make childcare more expensive for families and taxpayers. All childcare providers should be able to provide quality, affordable services to parents without government interference or paying fees to an organization. If the union is successful, many childcare providers who do not want to be unionized or can't afford it will be forced to reject Child Care Assistance Program (C-CAP) children. In turn, this will create fewer quality childcare providers who will be able to accept children of hardworking, low-income parents.
If you have any questions regarding the childcare unionization law, please don't hesitate to contact me. I can be reached by telephone at (651) 296-3826 or (855) 407-7386, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via mail at 107 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.