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Child-care union law blocked

Posted by: Jim Ragsdale under Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature Updated: September 19, 2013 - 6:33 PM

A hotly-contested law that was to allow in-home child care providers to vote on whether to unionize has been temporarily blocked by a federal appeals court.

Officials of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is representing Minnesota providers who oppose unionization, said they received notice late Thursday that their motion for an injunction blocking the law was granted by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

According to lawyers for the group, that means the child-care union election cannot take place until the injunction is lifted. The appeals court said it wants to wait to see if the U.S.Supreme Court decides to hear an appeal on a related case dealing with unionization of home-care workers. That case is called Harris v. Quinn.

Jennifer Parrish, a plaintiff  in the suit who is campaigning against union, said,  “I am on cloud nine. This is exhausting. Having to get out there and educate providers. It's become a fulltime job. Having law enjoined at least gives us bit of security knowing they can’t bring us an election any time soon.”

Jennifer Munt, a spokeswoman for AFSCME, the union seeking to organize providers, said the union will continue its work "full steam ahead."

“This one-sentence decision has nothing to do with the merits of the case," Munt said. "It’s a temporary roadblock that doesn’t stop us from organizing. We are moving full-speed ahead because child care providers want a union."

Officials of the Legal Defense Foundation said the ruling only blocks the unionization of child-care  providers and does not affect personal care attendants, who are covered by the same law.

"Today's ruling from the federal appeals court is the first step to remedy the injustice done by Democrats to the hardworking childcare providers and parents of Minnesota, said a statement from Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, a former provider who opposed the law.  "While the legal battle over this law is far from over, I'm happy Minnesota moms and dads and their childcare providers can be breath a little easier for now as the threat of forced childcare unionization is no longer imminent."

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