Judge OKs Vote On Minnesota Home Care Worker Union

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that an election to create a personal home care providers union in Minnesota can proceed, despite attempts by a national group to halt the election.

Nine home care workers who in July filed for a preliminary injunction could do so again if the workers ultimately vote to create a union, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis wrote in his ruling.

The workers sued Gov. Mark Dayton and other state officials along with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), claiming the unionization effort violates constitutional guarantees of free expression and association.

The injunction was sought by the National Right to Work Foundation, a Florida-based organization that fights against unionization, along with workers.

The election will determine whether nearly 27,000 personal home care workers will be represented by SEIU.

Ballots were mailed to home health care workers Aug. 1 and will be counted next Tuesday by the state Bureau of Mediation, the StarTribune reports.

Bureau commissioner Josh Tilsen tells StarTribune that 5,297 ballots have been returned so far.

The union campaign involves the largest group of workers, public or private, to attempt to win a union election in Minnesota since Congress passed the Wagner Act in 1935, says Peter Rachleff, a retired history professor at Macalester College. 

If it wins the election, the SEIU would have the authority to bargain with the state over wages, rules and working conditions.

The election will be completed Aug. 26, at which time the state of Minnesota will tabulate the returned ballots and certify SEIU as an exclusive representative if a majority of ballots are cast as for SEIU. 

Read an article on the latest ruling here

Written by Cassandra Dowell

Cassandra Dowell