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Center Calls on State to Suspend Childcare Unionization Law

UPDATE – June 30, 2014: Based on today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Center, as it warned last fall, calls on State and SLRB to undo unconstitutional law and resulting SEIU elections. (see media release below)

UPDATE – August 6, 2014: SEIU in Massachusetts and other states abandon forced fee scheme for home childcare providers – see media release here! Our Center challenges the SEIU in Rhode Island to follow suit.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    June 30, 2014

Providence, RI — Based on today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Harris v Quinn case, which legal experts believe invalidates the 2013 Rhode Island law that allowed for the forced payment of fees to unions by home childcare providers, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity is calling on the State, the State Labor Relations Board (SLRB), and all statewide candidates in 2014 to act decisively and swiftly to ensure that taxpayer dollars intended for the care of children, which are unconstitutionally slated to be diverted into union coffers, remain with the providers.
In order to avoid a legal morass and the costs of a potential lawsuit, as projected by the Center last year, and with area unions publicly stating that it is their plan to force unionization upon even more independent business owners and contractors in the Ocean State, the Center recommends that clear, decisive administrative and legislative action be taken as soon as possible. Touting it as a major victory for small business, the Center believes today’s decision will “stop cold” any further attempt by organized labor to compel other independent contractors and small business owners to pay union fees.
“For these very reasons, last fall our Center petitioned the SLRB and the SEIU to hold off on this unionization process until the Harris case was decided. But they forged ahead without concern for anybody’s interest but their own,” said Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center. “As our Center also warned, this entire process has been an unconstitutional waste of time and money that violates these providers’ first amendment rights.”
The Center is calling on 2014 gubernatorial and General Assembly candidates to weigh in on how they will approach potential legislation in 2015 that would permanently undo the now unconstitutional law (H5946) that passed the Rhode Island’s General Assembly in 2013.
In the meantime, the Center is calling on Rhode Island’s SLRB to invalidate the results of the October 2013 SEIU election that was based on the now unconstitutional law; and upon the state to suspend all ongoing contract negotiations with the SEIU for these independent contractors, to ensure that no professional is forced to pay union dues or fair-share fees, to prohibit any possibility of state involvement in the collection of related dues, and to ensure that no taxpayer dollars will be used in defense of any subsequent lawsuit.
Further, the Center calls upon Attorney General Kilmartin to issue an opinion as to whether or not the administration as the legal authority to temporarily suspend the 2013 state law that today’s U.S. Supreme Court indirectly ruled is not constitutional.
The Center may also seek to initiate injunctive relief against the state and the SEIU labor union, on behalf of home childcare providers, because the existing law illegally treats such business owners as public employees.
In 2013, the Center published a report highlighting concerns that unionization may cause for taxpayers, service providers, and other independent business owners. All related information can be viewed on the Center’s website at www.RIFreedom.org .
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