Judge tosses Dayton’s executive order on child care unionization

A Ramsey County District Court judge has thrown out Governor Dayton's order that allowed in-home day care providers to vote on whether to unionize.

In his decision, Judge Dale Lindman ruled that Dayton exceeded his authority when he issued an executive order allowing day care providers to decide whether to join a union.

Lindman said Dayton didn't have the power to issue the executive order because the state and the day care providers don't have an employer-employee relationship. He said Dayton's order superseded the legislative process and violated the separation of powers clause in the Minnesota Constitution. The judge ruled that the power to decide whether in-home day care providers can unionize lies with the Legislature.

Conservative groups and day care providers opposed to the unionization effort are cheering the ruling.

"I can't think of a better way to celebrate Easter than knowing that Judge Lindman upheld our rights and freedoms as independent licensed family child care providers," Hollee Saville said in a statement. "I'm jumping up and down right now and am thrilled that the time and efforts that childcare providers have dedicated to this very important cause over the past several years have paid off."

A spokeswoman for Dayton said Dayton is disappointed with the decision. She said they're reviewing the order and aren't sure whether they'll appeal.

Update:

Here's a statement from GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers:

Today's decision from Ramsey County Judge Dale Lindman is a victory for child care providers and small, independent businesses in Minnesota. It affirms what we have told Governor Dayton since he first called for the unconstitutional union election of child care providers: lawmaking is a function solely entrusted to the Minnesota Legislature. Governor Mark Dayton violated the constitutional separation of powers in calling for a union election of child care providers at the bequest of AFSCME and SEIU. I sincerely thank and congratulate the child care providers who bravely stood up to the unconstitutional overreach of Governor Mark Dayton and his union cronies. Their courage and fight will help protect small, independent businesses in Minnesota from the threat of forced, unilateral unionization in the future.

Update:

Here's a statement from Jennifer Munt, a spokesman for AFSCME Council 5, a union that supported Dayton's executive order:

"This ruling is disappointing, but not unexpected. Right-wing legislators and their tea-party allies sued to score political points. Their victory denies child care providers their democratic right to vote.

"A union exists wherever workers pull together with a common purpose. We're united to increase the quality of child care, to improve access for working parents, and to stabilize our profession. No judge or politician can stop that."

Here's the order:

(04!06!12) Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law and Order

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