Daycare Workers Split on Court Ruling on Unionization

Created: 07/01/2014 6:40 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- A ruling by our nation's highest court is having an impact on Minnesota daycares and the push to unionize.

The chances of unionizing home daycare workers in Minnesota is looking slim after a major ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. In the case in Illinois, the Supreme Court decided Wednesday that such workers cannot be forced to pay union dues. Governor Mark Dayton accused the court of rolling back the cause of civil rights.

"Lots of tears and cheers yesterday when we got the ruling. It was a very moving experience to have been doing this for so long and get the ruling that will hopefully be the first step in ensuring freedom for health care providers," said daycare provider Jennifer Parrish who's also with the Coalition of Union Free Providers. It was a big victory for Parrish and her friends with the Coalition of Union Free Providers who've been actively fighting the unionization of daycares for months, even entering a legal battle with Governor Dayton.

"The ruling that came down from the Supreme Court yesterday basically solidifies that we are not full-fledged state employees and that we cannot be compelled to pay fair share fees," said Parrish.

Despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, Governor Dayton's stance hasn’t changed. "It seems to me that he's working a little bit harder for these unions than the citizens of Minnesota who overwhelmingly oppose this," said Parrish.

"People I've talked to who are proponents of the union think they'll be able to negotiate better wages, better working conditions, health care benefits…" Governor Dayton said in a press conference on the matter a couple years back.

There are some caregivers who feel that way too. "This is about uplifting my profession that I’ve been involved with for so many years, for us to be looked at beyond just babysitters but the professionals that we are," said daycare provider Clarissa Johnston.

This new ruling doesn't prohibit workers from joining a union, they just won’t be forced to. Parrish feels that's the way it should be. "What we disagree with is that this law and the previous executive order would force providers who don't want to belong to the union to pay those compulsory fees and also be exclusively represented by the union," said Parrish.

At Wednesday's press conference at the Minnesota State Capitol, the Coalition of Union Free Providers called on Governor Dayton to halt any challenges of the Parrish Versus Dayton lawsuit in light of the Supreme Court ruling, but he says he'll remain persistent.

Photo credit: MGN