Anti-union MN child care workers buoyed by Supreme Court ruling

Minnesota child care workers fighting a unionization drive are applauding a Supreme Court decision in an Illinois union case.

The court on Monday ruled that thousands of Illinois home health care workers cannot be required to pay fees to cover collective bargaining costs.

That decision bodes well for those challenging a Minnesota law that allows unionization of in-home childcare workers, said Jennifer Parrish, a Rochester-based child care owner who's been fighting to stop those unionizing efforts.

Gov. Mark Dayton called the divided Supreme Court ruling a setback for civil rights in America. "If people can't vote for themselves to decide if they want to join a union or not, that's just not democracy," he said in a statement.

A spokesman for Dayton says they'll continue to fight a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of a 2013 law allowing child care and home care workers to unionize. Parrish and other providers have sued to stop the Minnesota law. On Monday, she called on Dayton to "halt the challenges to our lawsuit."

A union looking to organize Minnesota home health care workers will continue its push despite the Supreme Court decision.

"As a home care worker, I'm going to continue to fight to form our union," said Sumer Spika, a home health care worker working on behalf of the Service Employees International Union. "We are going to continue to move forward. We want a better life for ourselves. We want to be able to provide a better life for our clients and there's just nothing that is going to stop us from doing that."

Spika couldn't say what barriers today's court ruling will have on their unionization efforts.

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