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Minnesota Free Market Institute and Center of the American Experiment have joined forces!

January 18, 2012
Brian McClung: 612-965-2729

Two leading conservative think tanks to combine forces
Center of the American Experiment and Minnesota Free Market Institute
will focus on building a culture of prosperity

Minneapolis, MN — Two influential Minnesota-based conservative public policy organizations – Center of the American Experiment and Minnesota Free Market Institute – today announced they are joining forces to form one new organization.

The announcement was made jointly by Center of the American Experiment Chairman Chuck Spevacek and President Mitch Pearlstein, and Minnesota Free Market Institute Chairman Tom Kelly and President Kim Crockett.

The new organization will continue to be known as Center of the American Experiment (CAE). Pearlstein, who founded CAE in 1990, will continue serving as President of the combined organization. Crockett will serve as Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and General Counsel.

Pearlstein and Crockett said the new organization will combine the strengths of CAE, Minnesota’s first conservative public policy institution, with the economic focus of Minnesota Free Market Institute. The new organization’s mission will be “building a culture of prosperity.”

“For 22 years, Center of the American Experiment has served as the preeminent Minnesota voice championing conservative and free market solutions,” Chuck Spevacek said. “The Minnesota Free Market Institute has more recently emerged as one of the most creative, dynamic and innovative champions of the same ideals. Working together, Mitch Pearlstein and Kim Crockett, along with their colleagues Katherine Kersten, Peter Nelson, John LaPlante and others, will accomplish great things.”

“This is a great opportunity for Minnesotans interested in moving our state and nation in a positive direction,” Tom Kelly said. “Both organizations have been working for similar objectives and by combining we will make the most of the strengths of both. If ever there was a situation where 1+1=3, this is it.”

“In early 2011, I approached Kim Crockett about joining forces for a variety of reasons,” Mitch Pearlstein said. “One of the primary ones was ensuring the financial strength of our organizations in an increasingly crowded marketplace. I’m exceedingly pleased with our new institution as it will expand and strengthen our capacity to work with policymakers in transforming our ideas and innovations into effective results. I also assure that Center of the American Experiment will remain the intellectually serious, provocative, and civil institution it has been for more than two decades.”

“There is an urgent need to break the bad habits that undermine a vibrant culture and dynamic economy,” Kim Crockett said. “Unfortunately we have strayed from the successful moorings of individual responsibility, free markets and a limited, frugal government. Our new organization’s reinforced purpose is reminding Minnesotans about what works, as well as challenging policies and regulations that are choking vibrancy and growth.”

Keith Kostuch, a CAE director who led the effort to combine the organizations said, “We hope the prospect of a stronger voice for conservative and free market ideas and principles in Minnesota excites current supporters of the two organizations. Given the current economic and political environment, we also expect it to attract new supporters. Ideas do have consequences and we expect the ideas and accompanying actions coming out of the new Center of the American Experiment to strengthen economic prosperity – starting with its cultural and social underpinnings – in Minnesota and beyond.”

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


Thursday, January 5th, 2011


CONTACT                                                                                                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dan McGrath


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.






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



Dan McGrath

612-605-3303 ext. 703




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.”



For more information, see www.ChildcareFREEDOM.com

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