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Press Release: Childcare Unionization TRO Hearing Moved to February 22nd

PRESS RELEASE

Thursday, January 5th, 2011

 

CONTACT                                                                                                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dan McGrath

dan.mcgrath@mnmajority.org

612-605-3303 Ext. 703

 

Judge Grants Request for Summary Judgment Hearing in Minnesota Childcare Unionization Case

Hearing converted and continued to February 22nd

 

St. Paul – Childcare providers who sued Governor Dayton over his executive order calling for an election to unionize their industry have requested a summary judgment hearing.  This week, Judge Dale Lindman granted their request which should help to streamline the process.  As a result, the hearing originally scheduled for January 17th has been rescheduled to February 22nd.

 

On December 5th, Judge Lindman granted the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order blocking the unionization vote that was scheduled to begin on December 7th.  At that time, a hearing on a temporary injunction was scheduled for January 17th, 2012.

 

Attorneys for the plaintiffs subsequently made the request for summary judgment.  On Wednesday this week, Judge Lindman granted the plaintiffs’ request, converting the hearing originally scheduled for January 17th to a summary judgment hearing to be heard on February 22nd, 2012.  The temporary restraining order blocking the unionization election will remain in force at least until the February hearing.

 

“We won a restraining order and the next step was a temporary injunction, then a permanent injunction,” said Jeff Davis, speaking for the Childcare Freedom Coalition. “By granting our request for summary judgment, the judge is cutting through all of that. The case has already been argued and it’s time to put this to bed. This move will save us as well as Minnesota taxpayers needless added time and expense.”

 

Summary judgment could represent Judge Lindman’s final determination on the merits of the case, but which ever way he rules, appeals are still possible.

 

“We believe the law is clearly on the side of the plaintiffs in this matter,” Davis said, “The governor’s attorneys are citing statutes that pertain solely to state employees as justification to unionize these small business owners.  He essentially wants to treat childcare providers like employees of the state without calling them employees, and he lacks the legal authority to do so. We expect to prevail and hope that the governor will not waste more tax dollars pursuing appeals to try to keep his unlawful unionization scheme going.”

 

The summary judgment hearing is scheduled to occur at 2:30 PM on Wednesday, February 22nd at the Ramsey County Courthouse.

 

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www.ChildcareFREEDOM.com

 

 

Press Release: Non-Members Could be Assessed “Fair Share” Fees if Childcare Union Formed

PRESS RELEASE

CONTACT

Dan McGrath

612-605-3303 ext. 703

dan.mcgrath@mnmajority.org

 

 

Non-Members Could be Assessed “Fair Share” Fees if ChildcareUnionFormed

Statements by Governor and Unions Misleading

St. Paul – The possibility of childcare providers who opt not to join one of the two proposed childcare unions being required to pay fair share fees has become a hotly contested point of debate, but despite assurances from the governor, his Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on his blocked executive order and statements from union organizers, it’s clear that state law will allow the unions to require fair share fees of non-members if established.

 

Fair Share fees are costs assessed on individuals who are not members of a union which is the exclusive representative of a bargaining unit they are considered part of. The theory is that the union is doing work on the individual’s behalf to better their conditions, wages or benefits, so even though the individual does not desire the service provided by the union, payment of their “fair share” is expected.

 

Governor Dayton’s executive order establishing the unionization election says, “Nothing in this order shall be construed to require participation, or the involuntary payment of dues by any family childcare provider,” but this is a tricky bit of word play, said Jeff Davis, a spokesperson for the Childcare Freedom Coalition.

 

“This has the right sound, but when you scrutinize the legal meanings and definitions of words, and how the governor’s order interacts with laws already on the books, you learn that this wording is deliberately misleading, designed to obfuscate the reality of unionization. It’s a smoke screen,” saidDavis.

 

Davisnoted that there is a legal distinction between union dues and fair share fees, both are legal terms defined inMinnesotastatutes. “Fees” are paid by non-members while “dues” are paid by members of a union.

 

Representatives of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Unions (AFSCME) and Service Workers International Union (SEIU) were evasive when asked about fair share fees in committee hearings conducted by the legislature, relying on this word-play, insisting that only union members will pay “dues.”

 

Part 3 of the governor’s executive order reads, “If a majority of licensed registered subsidized family child care providers voting in the mail ballot election provided for herein, vote affirmatively for exclusive meet and confer representation, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services shall certify the organization so designated.”

 

Exclusive “meet and confer” representation is only defined in Minnesota Statutes in chapter 179A, which governs public employee unions (Specifically, the legal term, “meet and confer” is defined in Minnesota Statute 179A.03, subdivision 10). Minnesota Statute 179A.06, subdivision 3 allows “the exclusive representative” (the union) governed by Chapter 179A to “require employees who are not members of the exclusive representative to contribute a fair share fee for services rendered by the exclusive representative.”

 

Those mandatory fair share fees can be up to 85% of the members’ union dues.

 

“It doesn’t matter what the governor’s stated intentions are, or how he means his order to be construed,” saidDavis, “The governor can’t make or alter laws by intent or by executive orders, which is exactly why Judge Lindman issued a restraining order stopping the order. Once an exclusive meet and confer representation union is established, the laws on the books take effect. 179A is the only chapter inMinnesotalaw governing this type of union and it’s clear as day that fair share fees can be required of non-members.”

 

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For more information, see www.ChildcareFREEDOM.com

Victory for Freedom! Ramsey County Issues Temporary Injunction Against Day Care Union Election; Next Hearing is January 17th

Here is the press release from ChildCareFreedom. 

While this is very good news  for Minnesotans who do not support the unionization of daycare providers (or any small business owners for that matter), we have to always ask what can other branches of government do to address this issue.

While the Rule of Law triumphed this morning, at least temporarily, keep in mind that litigation is costly (time, money and emotions) and very  risky. These daycare providers should not have to fight the unions or the Governor for the right to run their business without paying dues to a union or interference from the heavy hand of the state. They should not have to litigate for their freedom.

So the next step, besides looking for a governor who respects the right of business owners to be left in peace, is to ask our Legislature in 2012 to clarify the laws so that public unions cannot campaign against people who are self-employed—or any privately held businesses— in the first place. One law being drafted would prevent the unions from getting child care subsidy funds, known as CCAP. This is good policy and it would discourage the unions but they would just look elsewhere for new state subsidies to treat as a new source of dues.

Why are the childcare owners a legitimate target of public unions? They are not state employees or employers–and there is no common or single employer to collectively bargain against as they are employed by parents, not the state. This is crazy stuff but the unions have already succeeded in other states so we have to take this seriously.

I heard Gov. Dayton say that we and other opponents were against elections (apple pie, children, and his new puppy. You get the idea). Yes, we are against elections that are not lawful.

Let’s suppose that a majority of licensed chiropractors (or dentists or doctors) wanted to unionize so they could get higher subsidies for patient care and other benefits from the state. Would that be lawful? Of course not—and those professionals would fight to fend off any union campaign just like these daycare providers have done. But childcare providers do not have paid lobbyists working for them—they are busy taking care of children and running their own businesses. The last thing they need is a knock on the door from their local AFSCME or SEIU rep.

(We keep hearing stories about union organizers coming during lunch or other busy times—pretending that the union card is just for information, rather than signing “yes” to join. Really ethical behavior. Shows a lot of respect for these busy business owners. My advice? Call the cops and report them as trespassers.)

So let’s thank the providers who were brave enough to push back. If you want to help them pay the costs of litigation (this is expensive folks) then go to the Childcarefreedom website and make a donation: https://www.wepay.com/donate/65011

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