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Schlaud v. Snyder

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

May 12, 2015

CARRIE SCHLAUD; EDWARD J. GROSS; NORA I. GROSS; PEGGY MASHKE; DIANA ORR, and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids. No. 1:10-cv-147--Robert J. Jonker, District Judge.


William L. Messenger, NATIONAL RIGHT TO WORK LEGAL DEFENSE FOUNDATION, Springfield, Virginia, for Appellants.

John M. West, BREDHOFF & KAISER, PLLC, Washington, D.C., for Appellees.

Before: MOORE and COOK, Circuit Judges; and BERTELSMAN, District Judge.[*]


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The named plaintiffs in this case are childcare providers who received subsidies from the State of Michigan and who objected to having a portion of these subsidies deducted for purposes of paying fees to a union that they did not wish to join. At issue in this appeal is whether the district court abused its discretion in denying plaintiffs' motions for class certification. We held in the first instance, Schlaud v. Snyder (Schlaud I), 717 F.3d 451 (6th Cir. 2013), that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying class certification to the named plaintiffs' proposed class and proposed subclass. The named plaintiffs subsequently filed a petition for a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court granted the petition, vacated our judgment, and remanded the case back to us " for further consideration in light of Harris v. Quinn." Schlaud v. Snyder, 134 S.Ct. 2899, 189 L.Ed.2d 852 (2014).

In Harris, the Court reviewed a framework substantially similar to the one at issue here: i.e., homecare providers, who were not full-fledged state employees, were required, under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement either to join a designated union or, in the alternative, to pay the union a fee under an agency-fee provision. The Supreme Court held that this agency-fee provision violated the First Amendment as applied to the homecare providers because these providers were not full-fledged state employees. The Court did not, however, touch upon the issue of class certification, the sole issue that we were presented with deciding in Schlaud I. After carefully reviewing the Harris opinion and examining the briefs filed by the parties in this court and before the Supreme Court, we conclude that Harris does not affect our initial decision in this case regarding class certification. Accordingly, we AFFIRM the district court's judgment denying class certification to the plaintiffs.


We have already reviewed the background of this case in detail, see Schlaud I, 717 F.3d at 454-56, and take only a moment to summarize the most pertinent facts. Plaintiffs are home childcare providers who received subsidies from Michigan's Child Development and Care Program (" CDC" ) for providing childcare services to low-income families. Under the CDC, parents choose a childcare provider, and the Michigan Department of Human Services (" DHS" ) then makes direct payments to that provider. Child Care Providers Together Michigan (" CCPTM" ), a joint venture of two other unions, was certified as the exclusive bargaining representative for home childcare providers in Michigan. In order to obtain such certification, " a neutral third party [first] certified CCPTM as the exclusive majority collective bargaining representative of home childcare providers in Michigan[] based on the submission of 22,180 valid provider-signed authorization cards out of a possible 40,532 eligible providers." Id. at 454. CCPTM then petitioned the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (" MERC" ) for an election under Michigan law. A secret-ballot election of childcare providers was conducted and, of the 6,396 ballots cast,

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5,921 were in favor of the CCPTM. MERC certified CCPTM as the exclusive bargaining representative based on the results of this election.

Shortly afterwards, CCPTM began negotiations over a collective bargaining agreement with the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council (" the Council" ), an organization created through an Interlocal Agreement between DHS and Mott Community College. The proposed collective bargaining agreement required all home childcare providers receiving subsidies from the CDC either to become members of CCPTM or to pay CCPTM an agency fee through a subsidy deduction. CCPTM submitted this proposed agreement to its members for ratification. In a mail-ballot election, 4,806 home childcare providers voted in favor of the agreement, seventy-eight providers voted against it, and twenty-two ballots were spoiled. The collective bargaining agreement became effective on January 1, 2008. Id. at 454-55. " In January 2009, DHS began deducting 1.15% from subsidy payments made to home childcare providers. The deducted funds were sent to the Council, which then forwarded them to [CCPTM]." Id. at 455 (citations omitted).

In February 2010, Carrie Schlaud and five other home childcare workers filed a putative class action, alleging that their First Amendment rights had been violated by the collective bargaining agreement's requiring them to pay union dues or agency fees to CCPTM through subsidy deductions. Plaintiffs prayed for injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and money damages. A year later, they ...

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