Dayton signs union bill; opponents prepare lawsuit

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Gov. Mark Dayton has signed into law a bill that allows government-subsidized in-home child care providers and personal care assistants to unionize. One of the main groups that opposed the legislation says it will likely file suit Wednesday.

The new state law conflicts with federal law that bars unionizing for business owners or employers, said Minnesota Majority president Dan McGrath.

"It simply is not allowed," he said, "and it will be struck down by the courts because federal law pre-empts state law. I find the whole thing so despicable that it's compelled our organization to get involved. It's not usually in our wheelhouse, but we had to do something."

McGrath added: "This is kind of a cut-and-dry case. We've got a lawsuit already prepared ... I don't want to presume upon the justices that will decide the case, but they've already struck down an executive order to do this; we expect the court will strike this law because it violates federal labor law."

DFLers argued the law does not intrude on small businesses or force anyone to join a union, adding that workers should have the right to work together to bargain for better pay.

Dayton used his executive authority in 2011 to order a unionization vote among state-subsidized child care providers. A Ramsey County Court judge struck down Dayton's order, saying the governor had exceeded his authority.

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