Boston, MA (April 16, 2014) – A group of Massachusetts home-based childcare providers have filed a federal lawsuit challenging a 2012 law that seeks to forcibly unionize the state’s home-based childcare providers.
Providers Kathleen D’Agostino, Denise Boian, Jean Demers, Judith Santos, Laurie Smith, and Kelly Winship filed the suit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts with free legal assistance from National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys.
D’Agostino and the other providers seek to halt implementation of a recently-passed law intended to designate Service Employees International Union (SEIU) officials as the monopoly political representative of thousands of providers in the state, who are either business owners or family members who take care of children within their families.
Home-based childcare and personal care providers, with Foundation attorneys’ assistance, have challenged similar forced-unionization-by-government-fiat schemes in several states across the country, including Michigan and Illinois. The Illinois case is pending at the U.S. Supreme Court. Michigan ended its scheme after Foundation attorneys filed suit for providers there. A group of Minnesota child care providers are also challenging a similar scheme in federal court.
Foundation attorneys argue that such schemes violate the providers’ First Amendment right to choose with whom they associate to petition the government. The government does not have the constitutional authority to force citizens to accept government’s handpicked political representative to lobby itself.
Under the Massachusetts scheme, SEIU Local 509 union officials are empowered to confiscate forced dues and fees from childcare providers for this forced “exclusive representation” starting in June.
“Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This scheme, which forces small business owners, and even grandma taking care of her grandchildren, into union political association is a slap in the face of fundamental American principles we hold dear.”
“This union boss power grab scheme is nothing more than pure political payback and was popularized by disgraced Governors Gray Davis of California and Rod Blagojevich of Illinois.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Illinois case, Harris v. Quinn this spring. The Minnesota case has been held pending the outcome of the Harris case.
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.