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Court ruling cheered by opponents of day care union drive

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Home day care providers suing to stop a unionization effort in Minnesota are hailing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a similar case the justices handed down Monday.

As the New York Times reports, the high court ruled in an Illinois case that home health care workers cannot be required to pay union dues.

The Minnesota case that involves some of the same legal questions was put on hold last fall, partly to see how the Supreme Court would rule on the matter in Illinois.

Two unions are working to organize home day care workers and personal care attendants after the Minnesota Legislature passed a 2013 law authorizing them to form a union if they should choose to do so.

Those workers are paid partly through state subsidies. The unions hope to represent them in negotiations with the state over issues such as reimbursement rates, training requirements, and working conditions.

The Associated Press reports critics say the state should now cancel the unionization drives in light of Monday's Supreme Court ruling.

The AP says Rochester day care operator Jennifer Parrish, the lead plaintiff in the suit challenging Minnesota's law, says the state has little chance of prevailing now that the justices have ruled "partial-public employees" cannot be required to pay union fees.

"The two cases are nearly identical, which gives us hope that the ruling today sets the legal precedent needed to permanently enjoin this unconstitutional scheme once and for all," Parrish said at a news conference.

The Supreme Court decided the Harris v. Quinn case in a 5-4 ruling with Justice Samuel Alito writing the majority opinion.

MPR News reports a statement from Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton criticizing the ruling said "If people can't vote for themselves to decide if they want to join a union or not, that's just not democracy."

Minnesota Republican Party chair Keith Downey tells the Star Tribune now that justices have spoken he hopes an appeals court will issue a speedy ruling in the Minnesota case "...and allow childcare providers to continue working without fear of being bullied into joining a union."

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