Labor Relations Board dismisses appeal to delay unionization vote
ACCORDING TO A REPORT published in September by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, eight of the 11 states for which data is available saw a decrease in the percentage of licensed child-care providers after unionization. The State Labor Relations Board Tuesday dismissed the center's appeal for a delay of an upcoming unionization vote until after the return of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a related case.
COURTESY RHODE ISLAND CENTER FOR FREEDOM & PROSPERITY
PROVIDENCE – The State Labor Relations Board has dismissed a request by the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity to delay a child-care unionization vote until the early 2014 return of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a related Illinois case.
The board has not yet scheduled the vote, which will determine whether more than 500 state-subsidized child-care providers will accept Service Employees International Union representation, following Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s signing in August of legislation allowing such unionization.
On Oct. 1, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it had granted a writ of certiorari in a case that will decide the constitutionality of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s executive order designating 4,500 home-care providers as “public employees,” thus inviting potentially unwelcome petitions from union representatives including the Service Employees International Union.
According to the Center for Freedom & Prosperity, R.I. State Labor Relations Board Administrator Robyn Golden stated “it is also not within the board’s statutory authority to act on your request or any requests of this nature” in a letter dismissing the center’s request for a delay of the Rhode Island unionization vote.
Mike Stenhouse, CEO of the Center for Freedom & Prosperity, criticized the board’s decision on Tuesday as “the epitome of irresponsibility.”
“The highest court in the land has clearly signaled that there may be a constitutional issue with forced unionization,” said Stenhouse in a prepared statement. “It would be totally unfair to child-care providers to conduct an election under this cloud, only to find out in a few months that the entire process may soon be ruled as unconstitutional.”
In September, the Center for Freedom & Prosperity published a report highlighting the potential concerns that unionization may raise for taxpayers and home child-care professionals, including the correlation between unionization and decline in child-care services in other states and the taxpayer burden to pay for union benefits.
According to the report, eight of the 11 states for which data is available saw a decrease in the percentage of licensed child-care providers after unionization.