Judge shuts down child-care unionization by executive fiat in MN

posted at 10:02 am on December 6, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, a Minnesota court struck a blow for separation of powers and defied Governor Mark Dayton in his attempt to featherbed for his union backers.  Dayton had issued an executive order for a union election among 4300 child-care businesses that care for children on a state subsidy program.  Ramsey County Judge Dale Lindman ruled that Dayton should have asked the legislature to pass such a law rather than issue an executive order, rebuking Dayton:

A Ramsey County judge delivered a setback to union organizers and a rebuke to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday by halting a pending election seeking to unionize thousands of Minnesota child care workers.

In issuing a temporary restraining order, Judge Dale Lindman said the unionization issue should have gone through the Legislature rather than Dayton’s approach of calling the vote through an executive order.

“If unionization of day care is to become the law of Minnesota, it must first be submitted to the lawmaking body of the state,” Lindman said after hearing three hours of arguments from a bank of attorneys. His order remains in effect at least until another court hearing on Jan. 16.

Opponents of the union drive argued that Dayton governor exceeded his powers and designed an election that would have prevented many providers from weighing in. Their attorney, Tom Revnew, told the judge that nothing in state law “directs small business owners or employers to engage in an election. It’s simply not there.”

The Star Tribune offers a lighter version of the rebuke:

A Ramsey County judge on Monday blocked a vote on child-care unionization that was to have started Wednesday among thousands of providers across Minnesota.

The ruling came after some child-care providers and Republicans said Gov. Mark Dayton overstepped his authority in calling for the vote last month. Ramsey County District Judge Dale Lindman said he respected the governor’s executive powers but was not persuaded that the unionization vote had to take place so quickly.

“I just believe the process should go through” the Legislature, Lindman said. He issued a temporary restraining order that will prevent mail-in ballots from going out on Wednesday. “I don’t understand where there’s a need for speed.” …

The election was to have started on Wednesday, with a two-week period for mail-in ballots. Although there are 11,000 licensed child-care providers in Minnesota, Dayton’s order would have restricted the election to 4,300 providers eligible to care for children on a state subsidy program. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), along with the Service Employees International Union have been organizing that subset for years.

Bear in mind that these child-care centers are not owned or run by the state, but are independent businesses.  Dayton issued the order on the basis that the state subsidy more or less made them a common labor pool answerable to the state government, an intent that has not been endorsed by the Minnesota legislature.  The child-care operators strongly objected to this effort, as did the legislature itself in seeing the governor trample on the legislative process.

Gary Gross has been following the case closely the last few months, and declares victory:

This is a major, crushing blow to Gov. Dayton, AFSCME Council 5 and the SEIU. … Gov. Dayton only has the authority to call for unionization elections if public employees are involved. If Judge Lindman indeed ruled that these child care providers weren’t public employees, then that’s why Judge Lindman issued his order.

Victory isn’t yet complete.  Lindman only temporarily barred the election, and will conduct further hearings on the matter.  The issue here is whether the acceptance of customers who receive public subsidies makes a private business a public-sector workplace that is subject to executive orders without any chance to have the legislature debate such a distortion of the law.  This has a much greater impact than just the 4300 child-care workers who suddenly discovered that their governor had declared them to be servants of the state rather than the private businesspeople they had considered themselves previously in order to allow his labor allies a chance to bully them into paying dues to the public-employee unions.  Keep an eye on Minnesota and the Ramsey County courts to see whether the separation of powers in government will continue to have any meaning, and remember that the “Democrat” in DFL is apparently an anachronistic vestige rather than a description of current philosophy.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Liberal campaign coffers hardest hit!

trs on December 6, 2011 at 10:04 AM

Dayton is already out of control. Apparently he’s trying to compensate for Walker’s work next door, giving even more power to the union machine. They desperately need it.

MadisonConservative on December 6, 2011 at 10:10 AM

If this passes all 11,000 of the new union shops should immediately call for a strike vote. Then demand the union pay strike wages and provide support.

Between childcare-less parents and bleeding the union dry, everyone will be outraged at this nonsense.

BacaDog on December 6, 2011 at 10:11 AM

The issue here is whether the acceptance of customers who receive public subsidies makes a private business a public-sector workplace that is subject to executive orders without any chance to have the legislature debate such a distortion of the law.

So any private grocery store that accepts food stamps (and it would be illegal discrimination to not accept food stamps) would now be a public sector workplace? Not merely fascism, but outright communism.

remember that the “Democrat” in DFL is apparently an anachronistic vestige rather than a description of current philosophy.

German Democratic Republic = East Germany
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea = North Korea
These marxists have distorted and corrupted the meaning of the word “democracy.”

rbj on December 6, 2011 at 10:11 AM

You never know about these guys. Among Democrats, Dayton seemed like he was one of the more ethical ones, but it turned out just the opposite. I certainly didn’t vote for him, but I thought things could be worse. Well, no, Dayton is the bottom of the barrel–a complete leftist hack.

RBMN on December 6, 2011 at 10:15 AM

One small victory at a time.

Of course with the state of the Minnesota GOP – I’m very scared for the next election.

gophergirl on December 6, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Fantastic!

I mean, just who does Dayton think he is trying this, Barack Obama?

PJ Emeritus on December 6, 2011 at 10:18 AM

“All your employee are belong to us.”

NeighborhoodCatLady on December 6, 2011 at 10:19 AM

God bless Judge Dale Lindman, but now someone better get him a body guard and a food taster.
We need more judges like him.

listens2glenn on December 6, 2011 at 10:23 AM

So any private grocery store that accepts food stamps (and it would be illegal discrimination to not accept food stamps) would now be a public sector workplace? Not merely fascism, but outright communism.

This was my first thought also. In addition, any retailer that sells a product or service to a state employee would also be a “public workplace”, given that the money would be in the form of a state salary.

100% unionization is working well in N. Korea. At least for the union leaders.

BobMbx on December 6, 2011 at 10:25 AM

If SCOTUS does what the Constitution says it should, this could be the beginning of the road back to sanity.

…. um …..

Or not. (especially considering the record of our 535 precious protected pilferers of public pelf.)

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2011 at 10:33 AM

So now we go back to the California plan to unionize baby sitters as the most literal use of the phrase “Nanny-State Government.”

jon1979 on December 6, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Absolutely great news. It’d be nice to see a little more of this logic (separation of powers) applied at the federal level.

strictnein on December 6, 2011 at 10:38 AM

2012 will be an “interesting” year as they try and hurry up their agenda’s before November.

This idea these are public employees is of course nonsense, but it’s another nail on the coffin so to speak, and cannot be allowed to happen, period!

golfmann on December 6, 2011 at 10:40 AM

So any private grocery store that accepts food stamps (and it would be illegal discrimination to not accept food stamps) would now be a public sector workplace? Not merely fascism, but outright communism.

C O M M E R C E

C L A U S E !!!!!

Aarrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

/crr6 cur666

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Union employees only benefit when they buy goods or services that are produced by non-union labor.

Just think, I everyone was unionized, it would be a wash.

Actually it would be much worse because of the union administration overhead and the innate inefficiency that unions instill.

esnap on December 6, 2011 at 11:03 AM

C O M M E R C E

C L A U S E !!!!!

Aarrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

/crr6 cur666

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Whatever happened to our favorite law student?

gryphon202 on December 6, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Communists! Thank goodness for that judge.

tinkerthinker on December 6, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Whatever happened to our favorite law student?

gryphon202 on December 6, 2011 at 11:05 AM

MIA since that Wisconsin Supreme Court recount — and I am a fairly regular reader here. Same for David Rywall — it’s not been long enough, however.

65droptop on December 6, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Whatever happened to our favorite law student?

gryphon202 on December 6, 2011 at 11:05 AM

MIA since that Wisconsin Supreme Court recount — and I am a fairly regular reader here. Same for David Rywall — it’s not been long enough, however.

65droptop on December 6, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Occupy Occupied.

It’s kind of like constipated, so I hear.

(as in: full of sh!t)

hillbillyjim on December 6, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Isn’t Dayton the crazy guy?

Mason on December 6, 2011 at 12:29 PM

So, by their logic, states can order unionization of welfare recipients as well.

If a subsidy is the common bond to force unionization, then why not go whole hog?

ButterflyDragon on December 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Where is Bachmann? With all of her concern about “children” and “families” and “little girls”, I would have thought she would have been leading on this issue. After all, it’s right in her backyard. Guess trying to get a pardon for a felon was very important, as running for President is.

If she was smart, she would have been in the lead on this. It would have given her some experience in actually working for the citizens of her State.

Nice that Beck has given her a platform to criticize Newt. She’s good at attacking other Republicans.

God Bless Judge Lindman for doing what is right and not allowing the unions and this Gov to run roughshod over the rights of the Citizins.

bluefox on December 6, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Judge shuts down child-care unionization by executive fiat in MN

I’m glad common sense has finally penetrated at least one small corner of the judiciary.

The USA does not need an all-powerful union which takes from everyone, ignores the citizenry, and delivers nothing of value in return: our government already does than.

landlines on December 6, 2011 at 2:54 PM

than = that

landlines on December 6, 2011 at 2:55 PM

“The issue here is whether the acceptance of customers who receive public subsidies makes a private business a public-sector workplace that is subject to executive orders without any chance to have the legislature debate such a distortion of the law.” This principle would make any supermarket, construction project, many other business subject to instant unionization, because they are forced to accept customers who receive public subsidies. In fact this could force the unionization of doctors’ offices and private hospitals, and charitable hospitals, because they receive medicare payments from their patients. The list of mischief this would do is endless.

eaglewingz08 on December 6, 2011 at 3:28 PM