ST. PAUL - Gov. Mark Dayton this morning ordered an election to allow child care providers to vote whether they want a union representing them.
Republicans immediately said they will go to court to prevent next month's vote.
Dayton said child care providers who receive state subsidies asked him to unilaterally order union representation to improve their wages and working conditions. However, he said, the American way is to conduct an election.
The vote will happen next month, with results to be announced Dec. 21.
Dayton's executive order provides for the election, but even if more than half of the day care providers vote to allow unionization, no provider is required to join or pay dues.
"The fairest way, and the American way, to settle this dispute is to have an election, where all people directly affected will have an opportunity to vote," Dayton said.
Republicans said the executive order amounts to giving the right to decide child care provider pay to unions, tkaing it away from the Legislature.
"It is just another merry Christmas gift," Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, said.
Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said he expects to quickly go to court to stop the election.
"What do you do with a governor who won't follow the law?" Hann said, adding that Senate lawyers say Dayton's executive order is not allowed under state law.
Hann, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee chairman, could not say whether the Senate, Republican Party or someone else would pay for the court action.
Dayton said his lawyer saw no legal problems with the order, but Attorney General Lori Swanson has not issued a definitive opinion.
Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.