Opponents of Minnesota union drives hail ruling
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Bolstered by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday that limits organized labor’s power to collect compulsory dues, the lead plaintiff in a parallel Minnesota lawsuit urged Gov. Mark Dayton to have state lawyers stand down and ultimately cancel a pair of drives to unionize home-based day care and health care workers.
Rochester day care operator Jennifer Parrish suggested the Democratic governor had little chance to prevail after the nation’s top court decided that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois who are “partial-public employees” cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union’s costs of collective bargaining. Although the workers receive state subsidies to care for clients, they aren’t considered full-fledged state employees and therefore don’t have to pay dues if they don’t join a union, the conservative-led court ruled in a 5-4 decision.
“The two cases are nearly identical, which gives us hope that the ruling today sets the legal precedent needed to permanently enjoin this unconstitutional scheme once and for all,” Parrish said at a news conference. She was flanked by Republican legislators who resisted the law’s passage in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
In a prepared statement, Dayton blasted Monday’s ruling and offered no sign of retreat.
“By a 5-4 vote the court has voted to roll back the cause of civil rights in America,” he said. “For decades the right to organize has been an accepted mainstream principle in American society. If people can’t vote for themselves to decide if they want to join a union or not, that’s just not democracy.”
Minnesota bear researcher removes radio collars
ELY, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota researcher has surprised his followers and officials alike by removing radio collars from his research bears in the Ely area.
Lynn Rogers tells KARE-TV (https://kare11.tv/1m3U1Ww) it was a difficult decision. He blames the Department of Natural Resources for forcing them into a corner. He says the DNR gutted their program by restricting the number of radio collars and the kind of data they could collect to “to the point that it was hardly scientifically viable.”
Rogers claims his collared bears also became targets for hunters. He says removing collars now allows fur to grow back on their necks before hunting season.
DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen says Rogers’ move is a mystery. He says Rogers is allowed to leave the collars on pending a final decision on his permit.
New e-cigarette restrictions phase in in Minnesota
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Legislature passed scores of new laws this spring, and many of them take effect Tuesday. A look at some of the more notable:
Starting Tuesday, there’s no more vaping in day care centers, hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities. Ditto for buildings owned or operated by governments ranging from townships all the way up to the state, plus the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities systems.
Health organizations didn’t get the broad restrictions they pushed for at the Capitol this spring. Restaurants and bars aren’t included in the ban, as private businesses are left to decide whether they want to do anything on their own to block use of e-cigarettes on their premises.
Big crane delivery begins at Vikings stadium site
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Vikings stadium construction site has an important delivery on the way.
Portions of a 400-foot mobile crane began arriving Monday, with a total of 70 truckloads schedule to drop off the sections over a 10-day period. The crane is needed to hoist the steel pieces forming the top of the roof that at its peak will be 300 feet high. The crane will move back and forth, once assembled, on tracks that stand more than 8 feet high.
There are already five fixed cranes on the site, ranging from 250 to 300 feet high.
Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chairman Michelle Kelm-Helgen says 10 percent of the building has already been completed. The stadium is scheduled to open about two years from now.
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