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UPDATED: Judge stops union vote for day care providers

ST. PAUL - A judge has put a stop to an effort to unionize in-home day care workers.

Ramsey County District Court Judge Dale Lindman today issued a temporary restraining order to at least temporarily put the brakes on a unionization vote, which was scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Gov. Mark Dayton, who issued the election order last month, said he would talk to Attorney General Lori Swanson about how to proceed.

"I respect the decision of the court today," the Democratic governor said in a statement. "I am pleased the court was clear that I did not misuse my authority in issuing the executive order."

The judge suggested that the proper procedure may have been to take the issue to the Legislature.

"I continue to believe that in a democracy, people should have rights to elections to determine their own destinies," Dayton said.

Dayton issued the election order to allow 4,300 people who receive state subsidizes to care for children to vote whether they wanted to join a union. However, opponents of the vote said 11,000 Minnesotans host day cares in their homes, so more than half would be left without a voice.

Also, opponents said that day care operators are private businesses and state law does not allow them to join unions.

Republicans who opposed the vote were happy. They claimed Dayton overstepped his authority in ordering the union election.

"We are encouraged by Judge Lindman's decision to halt day care union election and will continue to stand in support of our day care providers," Sen. Mike Parry, R-Waseca, said.

Parry was among the Senate GOP leaders who voted to support a lawsuit by 11 day care providers who oppose unionization.

Dayton's order required ballots to be mailed out Wednesday and returned within two weeks to determine whether day care unions would be allowed.