Childcare providers, including St. Michael's Hollee Saville, who sued Gov. Mark Dayton over his executive order calling for an election to unionize their industry recently requested a summary judgment hearing. The move, filed soon after a Dec. 5, 2011 decision to file an injunction, was made to streamline the daycare's case against the state.
This week, Judge Dale Lindman granted their request which should help to streamline the process. As a result, the hearing to file the injuction, originally scheduled for Jan. 17, has been rescheduled to a summary hearing now set for Wednesday, Feb. 22. The hearing begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Ramsey County Courthouse.
The temporary restraining order blocking the unionization election will remain in force at least until the February hearing.
“We won a restraining order and the next step was a temporary injunction, then a permanent injunction,” said Jeff Davis, speaking for the Childcare Freedom Coalition. “By granting our request for summary judgment, the judge is cutting through all of that. The case has already been argued and it’s time to put this to bed. This move will save us as well as Minnesota taxpayers needless added time and expense.”
Summary judgment could represent Judge Lindman’s final determination on the merits of the case, but which ever way he rules, appeals are still possible.
“We believe the law is clearly on the side of the plaintiffs in this matter,” Davis said, “The governor’s attorneys are citing statutes that pertain solely to state employees as justification to unionize these small business owners. He essentially wants to treat childcare providers like employees of the state without calling them employees, and he lacks the legal authority to do so. We expect to prevail, and hope that the governor will not waste more tax dollars pursuing appeals to try to keep his unlawful unionization scheme going.”
The case was filed in a response to the Governor's executive order, filed late last year, asking that all daycares receiving state assistance vote on unionization with the state employees unions (AFSCME and SEIU).
Saville, who owns an in-home daycare in western St. Michael, said the order was simply a product of Dayton caving to union pressure. And, it's wrong that more than 12,000 private daycares will be represented by less than half of the population.
"It's horrendous that a vote–illegal to begin with–that affects EVERY licensed family childcare provider was only given to 4,287 providers," she said. "Unionization will hurt family childcare providers and the families for whom they care. It's not necessary. Look how much providers have accomplished on this issue (and many others) without unionization."