This time it’s a hospital company, Prime Healthcare Services in California, that’s telling the National Labor Relations Board to take a hike: “hell no, we won’t go,” or words to that effect. A lawyer supporting the union, one crude individual by the name of Bruce Harland, was quoted as saying “The employers’ side is giving the finger to the NLRB and the National Labor Relations Act.”
Prime has been targeted by unions for some time now and the NLRB has predictably taken the unions’ side in the dispute. But following the recent ruling by a court that three of Obama’s recess appointments to the board were unconstitutional, they’re just going to ignore what the NLRB says. As noted in the Reuters article,
Prime Healthcare’s decision is not unprecedented, lawyers said. In some cases, when a business disagrees with a board ruling, it has chosen to not comply and to fight any resulting unfair labor practice charge brought by a union.
Such challenges, however, usually target specific rulings. Prime Healthcare is taking the sweeping position that at least two and perhaps all the cases decided in the past year by the NLRB’s recess appointees are invalid.
And that is having a salutary effect on others faced with similar pressures by unions and the NLRB:
The company’s decision could pave the way for other employers to follow suit. That would be a blow to labor unions after a string of rulings in their favor. Some management lawyers said labor scored so many wins from the NLRB in the closing weeks of 2012 that they refer to the period as “the December massacre.”
The so-called “December massacre” is creating pushback:
James Hendricks, a lawyer at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith who represents management, said he is advising clients to assume that the pro-union decisions that came down during the “December massacre” no longer apply. “If we had decisions that have come down, those are now void,” he said.
And it isn’t just Prime that’s ignoring the NLRB, either:
Prime Healthcare’s action is one of several developments that have followed Friday’s ruling by the D.C. Circuit. On Wednesday, homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. asked a federal appeals court to throw out an NLRB ruling on grounds that another recess appointment Obama made in 2010 was invalid. On Thursday, three Republican senators introduced legislation that would prohibit the NLRB from enforcing any rulings made after January 4, 2012, without a quorum of constitutionally appointed board members.
No one is suggesting the true, real and lasting remedy: defund the NLRB altogether. But the resistance is building, and that’s a good start.