Childcare providers fight dictate to push them into forced union dues ranks
Minneapolis, MN (August 7, 2013) – With free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, a group of Minnesota home-based childcare providers have appealed their federal challenge to a new law that seeks to forcibly unionize the state's home-based childcare providers.
Jennifer Parrish from Rochester and 11 other providers from around the state filed the appeal yesterday after a U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota judge dismissed their lawsuit last month on the grounds that it was filed too soon. Foundation staff attorneys counter that childcare providers shouldn't have to wait until their rights are violated to challenge the scheme, and that the threat of unionization in violation of their rights provides grounds for moving their legal challenge forward.
Parrish and other providers seek to halt implementation of a recently-passed law intended to designate American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) officials as the monopoly political representative of thousands of providers in the state, who are either owners of childcare businesses or family members who take care of related children.
Home-based childcare and personal care providers have challenged similar forced-unionization-by-government-fiat schemes in several states across the country, including Michigan and Illinois. The Illinois case is pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. Michigan ended its scheme after Foundation attorneys filed suit for providers there.
Foundation attorneys argue that such schemes violate the providers' First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government. The government does not have the power to force citizens to accept its handpicked political representation to lobby itself. Under the Minnesota scheme, after the union is installed it will then be empowered to confiscate dues from childcare providers for this forced so-called "exclusive representation."
"Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "This scheme, which forces small business owners, and even grandma taking care of her grandchildren, into union political association is a slap in the face of fundamental American principles we hold dear."
The providers also requested a court injunction halting implementation of the law pending the appeal.