A law that allows state child care workers to vote on whether to form a union was temporarily blocked today by a federal appeals court.
The order from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit blocks the union from holding an election until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to hear arguments about another case that deals with similar issues.
The lawsuit was filed by a group of child care providers who argue that allowing a union would infringe upon their First Amendment rights of free association.
"As long as this order is pending, the state of Minnesota cannot enforce the act, which means it can't conduct an election and it can't impose a union on childcare providers," said attorney William Messenger of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is representing opponents of the law.
The law signed by Gov. Mark Dayton earlier this year allows child care providers who accept state subsidies to vote on a union and bargain collectively with the state. AFSCME Council 5 is leading the organizing drive to unionize child care providers. Spokesperson Jennifer Munt said the temporary injunction is not going to stop union organizers from reaching out to child care workers.
"The ruling is a one sentence decision that has nothing to do with the merits of the case, it's a temporary roadblock that doesn't stop us from organizing," Munt said. "We are moving full speed ahead because child care providers want a union."
Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis in July dismissed the lawsuit and refused to grant an injunction.
Thursday's order only temporarily blocks a union election for childcare providers. Personal care attendants, who were also granted the right to a union election under the law, are still allowed to hold a union vote.