Did Harris doom Dayton’s attempt to unionize day-care workers?

posted at 8:01 am on July 1, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in Harris v Quinn put the kibosh on Illinois’ attempts to force personal-care assistants subsidized by state aid payments to cough up union dues. Did it do the same in Minnesota? Perhaps, although the issue is slightly different in the state’s attempt to force similarly subsidized day-care workers into AFSCME, one of the nation’s main public-employee unions. Minnesota’s case is at the Eighth Circuit pending the outcome in Harris, but that may not be entirely dispositive:

On Monday, child-care owners said they are optimistic the high court’s opinion will apply to their situation.

“The two cases are nearly identical, which gives us hope,” said Rochester child-care provider Jennifer Parrish, who leads the Coalition of Union Free Providers. “Child-care providers didn’t want this. The taxpayers of Minnesota didn’t want this.”

Parrish has sued the state to block unionization of child-care workers. Parrish v. Dayton is before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which put the case on hold pending the Supreme Court ruling. …

A St. Paul legal expert said the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the state’s child-care lawsuit is far from clear. “They’re different issues,” David Larson, a professor of labor and employment law at Hamline University School of Law. “You certainly can’t say that this case decided [Monday] controls what happens in Minnesota.”

Larson said that Minnesota’s challenge is based on whether the workers in Minnesota can vote to form a union, while the Illinois home care providers had a union. The central issue in the Illinois case was mandatory union dues.

“That is a very different question,” Larson said.

Well, the cases were similar enough for the appellate court to wait for the Harris decision before ruling on Parrish v Dayton. The court must have recognized enough parallels to at least wait to see not just what the Supreme Court decided, but how it reached that decision. The question may be different, but the principles seem close enough to relate.

No one — not even the Supreme Court in Harris v Quinn — said that people can’t vote to form a union, but they have to be in the employ of a single employer. Harris held that indirectly receiving state aid does not qualify workers as state employees; their employment relationship is with their direct employer. If they want to form a union, they would have to organize each workplace individually. And even if they did form a union, the state could not compel them to pay union dues or even agency fees because they still would not be state employees, which eliminates the incentives to unionize in the first place.

On top of that, the Eighth Circuit cannot help but take notice of the aspersions the majority cast on Abood in the opinion. That decision cemented the authority of government to compel public employees to pay union dues or agency fees, although some states — notably Michigan — have passed “right to work” statutes that renounce that authority. The decision in Harris makes it clear that the court didn’t just kill the novel proposition that any state aid turns a person into a state employee, but that the forced collection of dues and agency fees even for actual employees is on its last legs.

If the Eighth Circuit was waiting for signals from the Supreme Court on Harris, it got more than enough bandwidth to send Mark Dayton’s pet project for his union supporters back to the drawing board. We’ll see soon enough how good their antennae are.

Update: Bloomberg’s editors also see the writing on the wall for Abood, and aren’t terribly sad about it:

The majority called Abood an “anomaly” resting on “questionable foundations,” charging that the 1977 court had “seriously erred” in its reading of precedents, which it “fundamentally misunderstood.”

The very first sentence of the Harris decision is its most important: This case, it states, “presents the question whether the First Amendment permits a state to compel personal care providers to subsidize speech on matters of public concern by a union that they do not wish to join or support.” Swap out “personal care providers” for “public employees,” and it is difficult to see why the same First Amendment protections should be any different. …

President Franklin Roosevelt recognized that difference and viewed the formation of public-sector unions as a threat to democracy. Yet one need not oppose them to see forced payments to them as an unacceptable infringement on First Amendment rights. If the Supreme Court eventually reverses Abood, public-sector union leaders will have to work harder to attract members and generate revenue. Yet their ultimate future will not be determined by the court. It will be determined by whether workers view membership as something worth paying for.

Gary Gross has a few other thoughts about Dayton’s reaction to the decision.


Related Posts:

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

If the Eighth Circuit was waiting for signals from the Supreme Court on Harris, it got more than enough bandwidth to send Mark Dayton’s pet project for his union supporters back to the drawing board.

So next up, declaring that the children who receive day care are state employees and tax their milk money?

Happy Nomad on July 1, 2014 at 8:08 AM

iirc theres a case in Michigan also

dmacleo on July 1, 2014 at 8:12 AM

their ultimate future will not be determined by the court. It will be determined by whether workers view membership as something worth paying for.

That sounds an awful lot like work. Unions are much happier when all they have to do is steal from those who actually do work.

But, given this rogue Supreme Court, I am sure that common folk will rally to the unions in a show of support or something.

Happy Nomad on July 1, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Public employee unions are a major cash cow for the Democrats. No dues, no money honey.

myiq2xu on July 1, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in Harris v Quinn put the kibosh on Illinois’ attempts to force personal-care assistants subsidized by state aid payments to cough up union dues.

You’ve lost me…

tlynch001 on July 1, 2014 at 8:21 AM

not once in this post is it stated or implied who exactly mark dayton is..actually using the word ‘governor’ would have be a nice touch.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on July 1, 2014 at 8:35 AM

The way to clear up most of this is with a national “Right-To-Work” law.

TKindred on July 1, 2014 at 8:36 AM

as a threat to democracy. Yet one need not oppose them to see forced payments to them as an unacceptable infringement on First Amendment rights.

Well, if those stupid unions claimed it was a TAX then Roberts would have backed them 100% Constitution, Schmonstituion. The important point is how can all these special interests encourage the jackboot of government to further quash individual liberty and choice.

And why can’t we get one GD Republican other than Cruz who can successfully articulate and not waver in those principles? (Yea, I”m looking at you, Rubio, Paul….)

MistyLane on July 1, 2014 at 8:36 AM

iirc theres a case in Michigan also

dmacleo on July 1, 2014 at 8:12 AM

The issues in Michigan are partly resolved. Granholm did institute forced unionization for day-care workers, but Schneider ended it. With right-to-work now the law of the land in Michigan nobody is bringing it back. What’s still not settled yet are the union dues these people were forced to pay not being refunded by the criminal unions that pushed for this nonsense.

NotCoach on July 1, 2014 at 8:53 AM

not once in this post is it stated or implied who exactly mark dayton is..actually using the word ‘governor’ would have be a nice touch.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on July 1, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Uh oh, now we have to kill you for revealing the top-secret information.

NotCoach on July 1, 2014 at 8:56 AM

To me, as a mother the mere fact that these leftists in Illinois were placing this ridiculous burden on the mother of a disabled child is hideous. This poor woman has enough on her hands without having to deal with a bunch of union goons telling her she had to pay dues because she was providing home healthcare fir HER OWN CHILD!!! This was not just overreach but overgrab. I’m glad she won but this should have never come about in the first place. You need look no farther than Detroit, Michigan and the state of Illinois to see what your lives will be like if these unions get their way. Shame on them!

neyney on July 1, 2014 at 9:04 AM

To me, as a mother the mere fact that these leftists in Illinois were placing this ridiculous burden on the mother of a disabled child is hideous. This poor woman has enough on her hands without having to deal with a bunch of union goons telling her she had to pay dues because she was providing home healthcare fir HER OWN CHILD!!! This was not just overreach but overgrab. I’m glad she won but this should have never come about in the first place. You need look no farther than Detroit, Michigan and the state of Illinois to see what your lives will be like if these unions get their way. Shame on them!

neyney on July 1, 2014 at 9:04 AM

not once in this post is it stated or implied who exactly mark dayton is..actually using the word ‘governor’ would have be a nice touch.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on July 1, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Rhetorical question, I know, but do you every actually READ the articles, or just look for something to whine about?

bigmacdaddy on July 1, 2014 at 9:06 AM

not once in this post is it stated or implied who exactly mark dayton is..actually using the word ‘governor’ would have be a nice touch.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on July 1, 2014 at 8:35 AM

He’s like every other deranged Leftist…he doesn’t want anyone
to know who he ACTUALLY IS.

ToddPA on July 1, 2014 at 9:06 AM

not once in this post is it stated or implied who exactly mark dayton is..actually using the word ‘governor’ would have be a nice touch.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on July 1, 2014 at 8:35 AM

If you’re not sure who Dayton is, here’s a video that should clear things up for you.

Mr. D on July 1, 2014 at 9:45 AM

We can only hope.

formwiz on July 1, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Yet their ultimate future will not be determined by the court. It will be determined by whether workers view membership as something worth paying for.

We already know how that determination will play out. Absent a clear need for collective bargaining and a clear benefit to the employee to be gained from it, the majority of employees will not chose to pay union dues.

Immolate on July 1, 2014 at 10:37 AM

If only – yesterday’s union vote was the big one, but the idiots were fighting the non-war on womens.

Schadenfreude on July 1, 2014 at 10:42 AM

not once in this post is it stated or implied who exactly mark dayton is..actually using the word ‘governor’ would have be a nice touch.

ThisIsYourBrainOnGoogle on July 1, 2014 at 8:35 AM

…Google it… brain drained!

JugEarsButtHurt on July 1, 2014 at 12:31 PM

And even if they did form a union, the state could not compel them to pay union dues or even agency fees because they still would not be state employees, which eliminates the incentives to unionize in the first place.

That was the Leftists’ goal: that government aid makes you a government entity. It’s easy to see them extending that to subsidized business, making those businesses government entities, too (effectively nationalizing them).

Expand the government sector; shrink the public sector, and pretty soon you cannot operate without taking government money. That’s how they dragged the regional banks into the TARP system – forced them to particiapte whether they wanted to or needed to, or not. Now those banks are all subject to Sarbenes-Oxley, even thought they weren’t playing those games or were even in that league.

It’s the Socialist dream; this has always been their goal.

ss396 on July 1, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Ve haff vays of makink you unionize!

Seems appropriate, given this is about as fascistic as it gets.

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 1, 2014 at 1:38 PM

not once in this post is it stated or implied who exactly mark dayton is..actually using the word ‘governor’ would have be a nice touch.

ThisIsYourBrainOnKoch on July 1, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Maybe it’s just as hard for Ed to call Dayton “governor” as it is for any honest American to call Barky “President”.

NOMOBO on July 1, 2014 at 1:52 PM

All public transit riders should be unionized, they are all subsidized by the state.

kugelfisher on July 1, 2014 at 4:38 PM