- - Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Job creators today are finding it difficult to make important decisions about their businesses, growth opportunities and investments. A federal court recently gave hope to beleaguered small-business owners by ruling President Obama’s January 2012 appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional.

The union-biased board has repeatedly tried to hinder job creation, limit the right to work and, inevitably, strangle the economic growth this country needs, in the course of pushing its pro-union agenda. These unconstitutional appointees have already made hundreds of decisions that could cost thousands of American jobs.

The panel’s decisions have enraged many small-business owners, and some of them are defying board rulings. It appears this discussion is only getting started, and we can expect (I hope) to see more employers standing up for their rights.

One California health care company will not comply with the NLRB rulings and is resisting attacks from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). About a year ago, the union mounted a propaganda campaign against Prime Healthcare Services because the hospital chain rejected its demands for a “quickie” election for SEIU members — a deal designed to stave off a challenge to the union by the rival National Union of Healthcare Workers, a lesser-known union of disgruntled former SEIU members.

Prime Healthcare denied the union’s demands. As a result, union bosses threatened to accuse the company of hiding proof that Medicare patients were being infected with serious blood diseases. The union knew the Medicare data in question were based on the condition of patients upon admittance rather than reflecting the quality of care. Still, they used the tactic to increase pressure on Prime Healthcare. It didn’t work.

Prime Healthcare filed a Sherman Anti-Trust suit against both SEIU and a competitor, Kaiser Permanente. The company said false media stories and campaigns to stop their expansion into another area forced them to take the legal action. Small-business owners take great investment risks; uncertainty often causes them to stop what they are doing and just wait to see. That’s how we lose future investments, job creation and economic recovery.

When the National Labor Relations Board took up SEIU’s cause, Prime Healthcare decided to no longer comply with the panel’s rulings. The company also contended that Mr. Obama’s recess appointments to the board were unconstitutional and therefore invalid. As it turns out, a federal court agreed with the company’s position on the recess appointees in a ruling on another board case.

Prime Healthcare is taking the understandable position that at least two cases decided in the past year by the NLRB’s recess appointees are invalid — and maybe all of them. The company has indicated that it will no longer collect union dues after a collective bargaining deal has expired, as recently required by the activist board.

With the last 12 months of the NLRB rulings essentially void, many job creators are watching the Prime Healthcare case closely. Small-business owners are also urging the board to clear up the unconstitutional appointments, cull through all decisions made by the now determined unconstitutional panel and reassess their 2013 agenda.

Ron Lazof is managing director of Prism Advisers and a member of the Job Creators Alliance.