Judge to rule on whether to block union effort to organize home daycares

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A federal judge says he plans to rule soon on whether plans to put together a union vote among Minnesota daycare providers should proceed.

As the Associated Press reports, Judge Michael Davis heard arguments Thursday over two lawsuits challenging the new law that gives the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees permission to try to organize certain providers.

The Legislature voted in May to allow AFSCME to try to organize providers who look after kids whose care is subsidized by the state.

The Star Tribune reports the plaintiffs urged Judge Davis to put a stop to any union vote and throw out the law. Lawyers for the state and the union, meanwhile, argued it's the lawsuits that should be thrown out and a union vote should be allowed to move ahead.

Home daycare providers opposed to the law say it intrudes on independent businesses and may lead some to drop families that get state subsidies in order to avoid having to pay union dues.

MPR reports Gov. Mark Dayton calls it a travesty that providers might be prevented from deciding whether join a union.

The bill was hotly debated at the Legislature this spring and passed the House by the slimmest of margins, with all the Republicans and a few DFLers voting against it.

A poll taken by the Star Tribune last month found more disagreed with the Legislature's move than approved of it.

The challenges to Minnesota's law have attracted the attention of national pro-union and anti-union groups, which are helping to pay the legal bills. The AP says one lawyer told Judge Davis Thursday it's the kind of case that could land in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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