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Federal judge hears case on unionization of child care workers

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

ST. PAUL - A federal appeals court judge listened to arguments Thursday in a lawsuit accusing Minnesota officials of forcing unionization on some child care workers.

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It is not known when Judge Michael Davis will issue his decision.

The lawsuit's roots stretch back a couple of years to when Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton unilaterally set up a process to allow child care providers who get state subsidies to join unions. A judge ruled that was an illegal action for the governor, but the Legislature could do it.

Once the Legislature became Democratic controlled, it passed a similar provision, with supporters saying it would give child care providers better leverage when dealing with the state.

“Like strong women before us, we won the right to vote for a union," said Clarissa Johnston, a pro-union child care provider from Mounds View. "We won’t let right-wing extremists rob us of our rights

Republican Rep. Mary Franson of Alexandria said she fears child care workers would be influenced by "union bosses."

"As a former childcare provider, I know that forced unionization will only increase costs and create fewer options for working moms and dads,” Franson said.

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