Today, a Ramsey County District Court judge has thrown out Governor Dayton’s order that allowed in-home day care providers to vote on whether to unionize. The decision can be accessed here.
Minnesota Public Radio stated:
Lindman said Dayton didn’t have the power to issue the executive order because the state and the day care providers don’t have an employer-employee relationship. He said Dayton’s order superseded the legislative process and violated the separation of powers clause in the Minnesota Constitution. The judge ruled that the power to decide whether in-home day care providers can unionize lies with the Legislature.
MPR’s summary of the conclusions of law needs to be further clarified in order to avoid confusion. First, the Order did state that this should have been brought by the Legislature. (Order’s Conclusions of Law, paragraph 11).
Second, the statement that the court found no employer-employee relationship is misleading. The entire decision hinged on whether or not a “labor dispute” existed as defined under Minn. Stat. 179.01, subd. 7. Not whether there was an employer-employee relationship. In fact, in the decision itself, Judge Lindman acknowledges that a “labor dispute” may arise regardless of whether an employer-employee relationship exists. Minnesota Statutes section 179.01, subd.7 (emphasis added) provides:
“Labor dispute” includes any controversy concerning employment, tenure or conditions or terms of employment or concerning the association or right of representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms, tenure, or other conditions of employment, regardless of whether or not the relationship of employer and employee exists as to the disputants.
Nevertheless, Judge Lindman ruled that the controversy must have a bearing on the employer-employee relationship. Citing Minnesota Council of State Employees, No. 19 v. Am. Fed. of State, County and Municipal Employees, 19 N.W.2d 414, 421 (Minn. 1945).
After finding that there was no “labor dispute”, the court then held that BMS had no authority to intervene and that Governor Dayton had no authority to direct BMS to conduct an election. (See Order’s Conclusions of Law paragraphs 7-10).