Last week we received some very encouraging news from the U.S. Supreme Court in a case called Harris v. Quinn. The high court ruled that homecare workers in Illinois are not full-fledged public employees and therefore cannot be compelled to pay dues to the public employee union. This plaintiff in this case was a mom caring for her disabled son.
Last fall, the federal appeals court in Minnesota had put Minnesota’s childcare unionization law – which narrowly passed the legislature in May of 2013 – on hold until this case was settled. With it now decided, it is very likely the federal courts in Minnesota will rule the law is unconstitutional for childcare providers in the Parrish v. Dayton case. We anticipate that the personal care attendant (PCA) unionization – which passed in the same legislation as the unionization of childcare providers – will also run into constitutional problems, but that issue was not the focus of the Parrish lawsuit.
The ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court is welcome news for Minnesota moms and dads who already pay some of the highest childcare costs in the nation. Furthermore, childcare providers –primarily female small business owners – can breathe a sigh of relief knowing it’s likely that they won’t be forced to raise prices or turn away children in need of care based on the cost of union dues.
As it relates to the PCA unionization, the Services Employee International Union (SEIU) announced on Tuesday that they delivered cards to the Bureau of Mediation Services, triggering a union election to unionize PCAs. Given the precedent the Harris v. Quinn case set, it’s likely the law will be overturned once a lawsuit is filed and the legal process moves forward.
People have the right to free association. The state should not force its citizens to join a union and give up money intended for the care of their loved ones for union dues. Governor Dayton and Democrats in control of the state legislature should follow the U.S. Supreme Court decision, which makes it clear that the state cannot force people who are not state employees to pay dues to a government union.
As always, I can be reached via email at email@example.com. To contact me by phone, call (651) 296-9918. Mail can be sent to Rep. Steve Green, 231 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155.