Court Refuses to Halt Minn. Union Drive

Updated: 07/29/2013 5:34 PM By: Leslie Dyste

Image: MGN Online
Image: MGN Online

In a rare Sunday night ruling a federal judge dismissed both lawsuits that sought to stop the child care unionization law in Minnesota.

The judge also rejected a request for a preliminary injunction. The bill allowing workers to vote on forming a union was signed into law in May and a group quickly sued to stop it.
Now Minnesota's Chief Federal Judge has refused to stop that law from taking effect.

Chief Judge Michael Davis wrote the "plaintiffs express a fear that, one day, there may be a certified union for family child care providers who accept State subsidies and that, one day, such a union may decide to impose a fair share fee on nonmembers of the union... Plaintiffs request that the Court peer into a crystal ball, predict the future, and then opine on the constitutionality of a speculative scenario...Courts may not give such advisory opinions. Plaintiffs’ claims are not ripe.”

Judge Davis wrote “this court does not have jurisdiction” and dismissed the complaint.
The plaintiffs’ attorney Doug Seaton said, “He’s dismissed the case but he’s dismissed it on the basis that nothing is ripe, nothing has happened yet in his view. We think enough has happened so the judge can decide and he shouldn’t dismiss the case but because of that part of the decision it’s possible that our evaluation will be- we’re better off to wait until there’s a filing by AFSCME or some part of the process in the election takes place and then it’s very clear- it is ripe. So that would be one avenue to re-file after a matter of time and developments or directly go to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to file an appeal of this decision.”

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to Governor Mark Dayton right after the ruling to get his reaction. He released the following statement, "I am very pleased that both lawsuits seeking to prevent child care providers from deciding for themselves whether or not to form a union have been dismissed by the Chief Judge of the United States District Court. I believe that working men and women should have the right to vote on forming a union, and that the Court's decisions will permit such an election to be held."

KSTP's Mark Albert was first to report the story on Twitter Sunday night following the ruling. Follow him at @malbertnews and follow KSTP breaking news @KSTPbrk.

Click here to read the judge's orders.

Stay with for updates on this developing story.