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Republicans cheer, Democrats blast Supreme Court unionization decision

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: June 30, 2014 - 5:12 PM

Minnesota Republicans are cheering a U.S. Supreme Court decision that limits unions' ability to gather fees from Illinois home health care workers.

The 5-4 ruling is expected to quickly impact a Minnesota court case, called Parrish vs. Dayton,  challenging the unionization of child care and home health care workers. 

"While Minnesotans await the 8th circuit decision on Parrish vs. Dayton, it is our hope that decision will come quickly and allow childcare providers to continue working without fear of being bullied into joining a union," said Minnesota Republican Party chair Keith Downey.

The Minnesota activity had been on hold pending the Supreme Court decision in the Illinois case, called Harris vs. Quinn. Last September, a Minnesota federal court halted the state's organizing move.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton bashed the Supreme Court decision.

"By a 5-4 vote the court has voted to roll back the cause of civil rights in America," Dayton said in a statement.

Opponents of the Minnesota unionization move, approved after a court case, lengthy legislative debate and contested votes, believe they are at victory's door. Rochester child-care provider and union foe, Jennifer Parrish had an immediate reaction:

Republican gubernatorial candidates see the decision as a clear repudiation of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's leadership. Dayton first signed an executive order to allow a unionization vote. When that was tossed by a lower court, the DFL Legislature approved a measure Dayton signed into law to move unionization forward.

"It was misguided," said Rep. Kurt Zellers, one of four major Republican hoping to oust Dayton. Zellers has fought the unionization since 2011. "The courts have now decided for him what a lot of the public opinion had already said."

Republican gubernatorial candidates Jeff Johnson, Scott Honour and Marty Seifert also cheered the Supreme Court decision.

But Ken Martin, the chair of Minnesota's DFL Party, said the decision was devastating.

"The Harris v. Quinn decision diminishes the ability of unions to work with American workers. It’s devastating to think that the gains for wages, benefits and working conditions made by unions during the last century will be jeopardized," Martin said.

Photo: 2013 demonstrations before the Minnesota Legislature, as it approved child care and home care worker unionization/ Glenn Stubbe, Star Tribune

Updated; Dayton statement updated.

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