Dayton orders union vote for child care providers

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton signed an executive order today authorizing a union vote for thousands of state-susidized, in-home day care providers in Minnesota.

The order directs the State Bureau of Mediation Services to conduct the election, which will be scheduled in December. Membership would be voluntary if providers approved the unionization. During a news conference, Dayton acknowledged his support in general for labor unions. But he stressed his action was only mandating a vote.

“I’ve heard and met with both proponents and opponents of this measure,” Dayton said. “So, it seems to me that given there is that dispute among those child care providers, the fairest way and the American way to resolve that dispute is through an election.”

Republicans have been anticipating the action for weeks and questioning Dayton’s authority to order such a vote. Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, repeated that charge after Dayton’s announcement. Hann, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, also threatened a legal fight.

“If you have a governor who’s not willing to follow the law, then we have no choice but as a Legislature to go to an appropriate court and say you need to stop the governor from proceeding in this action because he is not warranted by law to do it,” Hann said.

MPR’s Tom Scheck contributed to this report.