On April 6, 2012, a Ramsey County Judge ruled that Governor Mark Dayton exceeded his constitutional authority in issuing an Executive Order that would have required Minnesota child care providers to vote in a unionization election.
In November 2011, Governor Dayton issued an executive order that would have forced Minnesota child care providers to vote on unionization, even though all of them are sole-proprietors, and not employees. A group of child care providers, represented by Attorneys Doug Seaton, Tom Revnew, Tara Craft and Silas Mayberry and supported by the Child Care Freedom Coalition and Minnesota Majority, quickly filed suit to stop this vote. As a result of this lawsuit, in December 2011, a Temporary Restraining Order was issued stopping the union election. This most recent ruling, in response to our Summary Judgment Motion, permanently halts the Governor’s proposed union election and renders Governor Dayton’s Executive Order null and void.
In his final decision, Ramsey County District Court Judge Dale Lindman ruled that the Executive Order was an “unconstitutional usurpation of the Legislature’s constitutional right to create and or amend laws and as such is a violation of the Separation of Powers doctrine.” In other words, it is the Legislature’s job to pass legislation in situations like this, because there is currently nothing in Minnesota’s statutes or Constitution that authorizes such an unprecedented election procedure for small businesses and employers.
Governor Dayton and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (“AFSCME”) now have sixty (60) days to file an appeal of this decision. The Governor’s office has issued a statement that they are currently reviewing the order and have not yet determined whether or not to file an appeal.
This case has broad implications for all small business owners in the state of Minnesota. Allowing unions to organize independent small businesses in one industry, simply because they are regulated by the state, creates a dangerous precedent that could be used as a model for forcing businesses in other regulated industries to submit to unionization threats and forcing state taxpayers to fund union dues payments.
Please contact the authors or any other attorney at Seaton, Peters & Revnew (952-896-1700) if you have any questions about this case or any other labor and employment law questions, or if you have litigation to defend or prosecute.