Judge won’t halt PCA union vote

U.S. District Judge Michael Davis has decided not to stop a unionization election among state-subsidized personal care assistants.

Davis issued an order today denying the motion from union opponents for a preliminary injunction. Those opponents are suing state officials, claiming that the election now underway among 27,000 in-home health care workers is unconstitutional. They argue it violates their right of free political expression and association.

Davis said the election must proceed.

“The court will not interfere with an ongoing election based on plaintiffs’ fear about what the outcome of that election might be,” he wrote. “Based on a legally enacted Minnesota law, homecare providers have the right to vote in the current secret ballot election to determine whether a majority desire SEIU to be their exclusive representative.”

Davis also described the challenge as premature.

“If after all the votes are counted, the SEIU is certified as the exclusive representative, plaintiffs may renew their challenge to that certification to this court,” he wrote.

The ruling came a day after a hearing on the motion.

Nine home-based PCAs who care for family members filed the lawsuit against state officials, including Gov. Mark Dayton, and the Service Employees International Union. Dayton signed the unionization bill in 2013, and SEIU is backing the organization effort.

The state Bureau of Mediation Services is scheduled to count the election ballots on Aug. 26.

Meanwhile, another group of PCAs filed a second lawsuit this week aimed at trying to stop the unionization effort. Six personal care assistants –Kristina Greene, Joan Spiczka, Paula Fleming, Patrick Fleming, Cindy Lindbloom and Maria Zimmerman – claim state officials are violating the National Labor Relations Act.