Federal appeals court rejects challenge to Minnesota’s exclusive representation law
A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit dismissed a Minnesota professor’s challenge to state law allowing unions to become exclusive bargaining agents for employees of the public sector in a June 16 decision.
The complainant is Kathleen Uradnik, professor of political science at St. Cloud State University. She is represented by lawyers from the Buckeye Institute and Baker & Hostetler. The Buckeye Institute described itself as “an independent research and educational institution – a think tank – whose mission is to advance free market public policy in states”.
The defendants are the Inter Faculty Organization (IFO), St. Cloud State University and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees. Lawyers for Cummins & Cummins and the State Attorney General’s Office represent the defendants.
What is at issue and how the lower court ruled
that of Uradnik initial complaint, filed in July 2018 in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, asserted that by “designating the Union as the sole representative of the plaintiff,
Minnesota law and [IFO’s collective bargaining agreement] violate the rights of the claimant under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Uradnik also claimed that the union violated the First Amendment because it “[negotiates] special preferences for union members, including preferences that tip the balance in favor of union members in matters such as tenure and promotion decisions.
from minnesota Public Employment Labor Relations Act allows “an employee organization that has been certified by the Commissioner… to meet and negotiate with the employer on behalf of all employees in the appropriate unit”.
In September 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota refuse Uradnik’s motion for a preliminary injunction. Uradnik appealed the decision to the Eighth Circuit, which upheld the lower court’s decision in December 2018, and then to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal in April 2019.
The case then resumed in the District of Minnesota, and the court ruled in favor of the defendants on December 5, 2019. Judge Paul Magnuson, appointed by President Ronald Reagan (right), cited the Supreme Court ruling in Minnesota State Council for Community Colleges v. Knight (1984). In that case, a group of non-union community college teachers opposed a Minnesota law allowing an only representative to speak on behalf of all employees in a bargaining unit in “meet and greet” sessions. conference ”. The Supreme Court ruled that Minnesota had “in no way restricted [the instructors’] freedom to speak… or their freedom to associate or not to associate with whomever they see fit. Magnuson mentionned, “knight and [Bierman v. Dayton] exclude the claims of the claimant. There is no real dispute of material fact and it cannot prevail over this question. Defendants are entitled to a trial as a matter of law. ”
Uradnik then appealed the decision to the Eighth Circuit.
How the Eighth Circuit Ruled
The three-judge appeal panel unanimously upheld the district court’s decision on June 16. Judge L. Steven Grasz, who was appointed to court by President Donald Trump (R), wrote:
We review the granting of the summary judgment de novo by the district court, considering the case in the most favorable light and drawing all reasonable inferences for Uradnik. … We are reviewing the district court’s decision to deny leave to amend for abuse of discretion and any underlying legal decision de novo. … Because Uradnik rightly concedes that the District Court correctly rejected his request for forced speech (Count I), we assert that the District Court granted summary judgment on his Count I claims. district, we are bound by case law, and only the Supreme Court can provide the relief it requests. …
Otherwise, Uradnik mainly focuses her brief on challenging the district court’s decision that she failed to properly plead an unconstitutionality claim in Count II of her complaint. We affirm the district court.
Judges Raymond Gruender, appointed by President George W. Bush (R), and Jane Kelly, appointed by President Barack Obama (D), joined Grasz’s opinion.
The name and number of the file are Kathleen Uradnik v. Interfaculty organization, et al. (19-03749).
About the eighth circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit hears appeals from the district courts under its jurisdiction, which include Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The Chief Justice of the Eighth Circuit is Lavenski Smith, appointed by Bush. Of the court’s 11 active judges, Bush appointed five and Trump appointed four. George HW Bush (right) and Obama each appointed a judge to the court.
What we read
- The central square, “Community Services Officer Sues New York City and Union for Resignation Efforts,” June 24, 2021
- NJ.com, “NJ unions to gain power under new plan proposed by highest lawmaker”, June 20, 2021
- Institute for Economic Policy, “Unions can reduce the pay gap in the public sector”, June 17, 2021
The big picture
Number of relevant invoices per state
We are currently monitoring 94 pieces of legislation dealing with trade union policy for public sector employees. On the map below, a darker shade of green indicates more relevant invoices. Click on here for a complete list of all the invoices we are tracking.
Number of relevant bills by current legislative status
Number of relevant bills by partisan status of the sponsor (s)
Recent legislative actions
Below is a full list of relevant legislative measures taken since our last issue.
- Delaware HB237: This bill would grant certain law enforcement officers the right to organize and represent.
- Democratic sponsorship.
- Chamber adopted on June 22, assigned to the Senate Committee on Corrections and Public Safety. Hearing scheduled for June 29.
- Oregon SB580: This bill would change the law’s definition of “labor relations” to include class size and workload limits as mandatory collective bargaining topics for school districts.
- Democratic sponsorship.
- The Speaker of the House signed on June 21.