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Minn. Child Care Workers Fight Unionization

(CN) - A Minnesota law designed to unionize child care workers overreaches federal laws, is unconstitutional and digs into the pockets of those who tend to other people's children, a group claims in state court.

Eleven female child care workers took on Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, the state's Bureau of Mediation Services and its Department of Human Services in a 12-page lawsuit filed Tuesday in Ramsey County, Minnesota.

They say the Family Child Care Providers Representation Act, signed into law in May 2013 by the governor, wrongly orders the state to unionize family child care providers but leaves them without a voice on who will represent them.

The state law mandates that the human services department compile a monthly list of the estimated 11,000 child care providers in the state who get federal subsidies for the children they look after, then give that list to any union seeking to represent them.

But only the 2,000-plus caseworkers with active registrations in the state can decide who can represent them, the lawsuit states.

That leaves plaintiffs out in the cold, they say.

The workers seek unspecified damages for violations of the equal protection clauses of both the U.S. and Minnesota Constitutions, tortuous interference with contract and irreparable harm.

They also want to block enforcement of the state law.

Named as plaintiffs are Hollee Saville; Rebecca Swanson; Jean Lang; Nikki Geffre; Nancy Overlid; Kristi Johnson; Jennifer Lutgen; Joan Finley; Susan Johnson; Tabytha Luikens and Michelle Aslagson-Klimek.

They are represented by Douglas P. Seaton with Seaton, Peters & Revnew in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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