ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Ramsey County judge ruled Friday that Gov. Mark Dayton violated constitutional separation of powers late last year when he called a unionization vote for home-based child care workers.

Judge Dale Lindman permanently cancelled the election, writing that if child care workers are to unionize, the election must first be authorized by the Legislature.

Dayton “is attempting to circumvent the legislative process and unionize child care providers by executive order, rather than by adhering to a valid legislative process,” Lindman wrote.

Spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci said Dayton disagrees with Lindman’s decision but respects it. She said the administration is still reviewing the order and had no immediate comment.

Several Minnesota unions had long pursued collective bargaining rights for child care workers who receive state subsidies. But Dayton’s attempt to order the election prompted a lawsuit from a group of child care providers. The election was to take place in late December, until Lindman issued a temporary injunction suspending it.

The election was to have been confined to about 4,300 providers that are currently licensed to receive state subsidies, but plaintiffs contended that another 6,700 providers ineligible to participate could nonetheless have been affected by rates and regulations bargained between a child care union and the state.

“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,” said plaintiff Hollee Saville, who runs a home child care business in St. Michael, in a press release from a conservative group that helped organize and fund the lawsuit.

Dayton, a Democrat and strong ally to unions, had said he didn’t intend to take sides in the election and only wanted to give child care providers the decision of whether to unionize. But Lindman’s order permanently nullifies the union election and bars Dayton’s administration from further attempts to implement the executive order.

Lindman also ordered Dayton’s administration to reimburse the plaintiffs’ court costs and attorney fees.

In the ruling, Lindman said the administration overreached because child care providers don’t have a direct employee-employer relationship with the state. He said the state Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS), which Dayton ordered to conduct the election, only has the authority to get involved with non-public workers in cases involving labor disputes between employers and employees.

“The BMS does not have authority … to intervene,” Lindman wrote.

In order for a union election, Lindman wrote, the Legislature “may advance a bill through the legislative process allowing elections of the child care providers.”

That’s not likely in the current Legislature. Republicans who control the House and Senate had been highly critical of Dayton’s election order, with some Republican senators at one point threatening to file their own lawsuit against it.

Criticizing Dayton for what he called “unconstitutional overreach,” GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers called the ruling a victory for small business.

“Lawmaking is a function solely entrusted to the Minnesota Legislature,” Zellers said.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (19)
  1. Peka says:

    Dayton = Cant Understand Normal Thinking

  2. Tom says:

    We know the house and senate which is run by the conservatives won’t let these people vote on this issue as they hate unions. But they dont mind voting on their social non-sense!

  3. Mike says:

    But to be fair, by leaving an issue like this to the legislature, you are leaving to be voted by a group of people elected by the people they represent. Not just one person that “represents” the varying feelings and wishes of an entire state.

  4. not quite says:

    I think I see a light at the end of the liberal tunnel locally and nationally.

  5. keel says:

    I’m more or less a Dayton supporter…but on this…he was out of line. We have a constitution for a reason. Let’s all follow it…not just “the other guys”.

  6. Kevin says:

    Dayton is a moron!!!!!!! Thank God it got booted!!!! Just say NO to unions…..and say goodbye to Dayton……

  7. See BS says:

    Did you flunk basic 7th grade civics or something?

  8. sapphire says:

    Oh da boy jus’ bein’ vexed agin, dat’s all.

  9. ipmutt says:

    What a sap Dayton is. And tell me why the teachers are not up in arms about Dayton’s veto of increased education funding. Is there so sort of strange politics going on here? You think?

  10. LibertyDiva says:

    A governor who openly admitted to being the “worst Senator ever” and people defend him. There is no reason to believe that Mark Dayton is capable of independent thinking…just “paying back” for his election to office.

    1. Tom says:

      @ LibertyDiva

      Conservatives do the samething with the nutty social consevatives!

  11. Honestly says:

    Gosh darn Liberal judges.

  12. Rubble says:

    I thought I lived in a free country. Whats wrong with a vote? What are you afraid of Republicans?

    1. Tom says:

      @ Rubble

      So did I. But i guess the only votes that conservatives believe need to taken our their issues that exist in their little bubble!

    2. JP2011 says:

      The rights guaranteed to us by the state and US constitution should not be put to a vote. There is no basis for compulsory unionism here because there is no employee/employer relationship. Not to mention, a vote that excludes two thirds of the providers who would be impacted by the union is not a fair vote. So yes, you do live in a free country. That’s why this Executive Order was struck down.

  13. KEVIN says:

    There’s only one thing worse than unions- OBAMA.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Good Question
Best Of Minnesota

Watch & Listen LIVE