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Gov. Dayton signs bill authorizing day care union vote; opponents to file court challenge

Minnesota Majority is filing a lawsuit to stop implementation of the newly signed law, which would allow child-care providers to vote to join a union.

Gov. Mark Dayton, as expected, has signed the Child Care Collective Bargaining Act, which will allow child care providers who accept state subsidies to vote to join a union.

Just as expected, opponents are suing to stop implementation of the law, and a group called Childcare Freedom will discuss the lawsuit Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the State Office Building. The group will bring child-care providers opposed to the law, and the attorney handling the case, Doug Seaton.

Opponents of the law were successful in stopping the unionization effort in 2011, when Gov. Dayton tried to implement the plan with an executive order. After the courts issued an injunction, unionization supporters went through the Legislature to get the bill passed.

Supporters say that 11,000 licensed and legally unlicensed providers who receive state subsidies will now have the right to unionize, like nurses, teachers and police officers in the state.

“This is a huge victory for workers, not only in Minnesota, but across the country,” said Eliot Seide, executive director of AFSCME Council 5. “Workers in states like Michigan and Indiana are losing their rights and are working for less, but not in Minnesota. We value our workers in this great state, and we will gladly lead the way and continue to fight for higher wages, great benefits and the right to join a union.”

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 But the Childcare Freedom group fought bitterly against the proposal, saying it “would allow the skimming of millions of dollars off of state assistance intended to help low income children receive quality care, straight into the coffers of AFSCME in an effort to bailout the governors friends.”

And Seaton, the group’s lawyer, said:

 “Federal labor law preempts the state’s ability to pass an unorthodox law like this. Simply put, business owners and employers cannot bargain collectively. It isn’t allowed and it doesn’t make sense.”