(Reuters) – A California-based hospital company says it will not comply with at least two National Labor Relations Board rulings from the past year after a federal court invalidated three of President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the NLRB last week.
Prime Healthcare Services, which owns 21 hospitals in California and three other states, told Reuters on Wednesday that it had informed one of its employee unions that it would not follow an NLRB ruling mandating the collection of union dues even after a collective bargaining agreement has expired, or a ruling compelling employers to provide unions with certain materials during internal investigations.
The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit casts a shadow of doubt over rulings the board has issued over the past year because without the three appointments, the board lacked a quorum.
One lawyer for the Prime Healthcare union, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, said the board’s rulings from last year remain the law and criticized Prime Healthcare’s stance.
“The employers’ side is giving the finger to the NLRB and the National Labor Relations Act,” the lawyer, Bruce Harland, said in an interview. “It’s not well thought out, it’s just an in-your-face, brazen, ‘We’re not going to comply with this.’”
When the D.C. Circuit invalidated Obama’s three recess appointees, it did not specifically address the two board rulings Prime Healthcare said it will flout. It instead ruled that the president violated the U.S. Constitution when he used recess appointments to fill the labor board, a sweeping decision that experts said could limit presidential power to push through federal nominees. The court found that the Senate was not truly in recess when Obama installed three nominees to the NLRB in January 2012.