Verizon Vindicated As Labor Case Loss Overturned 8 Years Later


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The ruling in a 2008 Verizon labor dispute has been dismissed by the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday.

Verizon claimed unionized workers didn’t have the right to display pro-union signs on company property during the labor dispute. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) waived its right to picket in its contract, but argued it didn’t include showing signs. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled against the company.

“The Board determined that the union’s waiver of its members’ right to picket did not waive their right to visibly display pro-union signs in cars on Verizon property,” the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals stated in its ruling. “We conclude that the Board misapplied its highly deferential standard for reviewing arbitration decisions.”

Unionized workers decided to picket several New England offices in March, 2008, ahead of the labor contract expiring. Verizon notified workers picketing violated the union contract, but the NLRB ruled the company was in the wrong. Verizon says it feels vindicated after the appeals court reversed the ruling eight years later.

“Verizon is pleased not just because its position has been vindicated after 8 years of litigation,” A Verizon spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Court’s decision emphasizes the obligation of the NLRB to defer to collective bargaining agreements and the use of the arbitration process to resolve disputes that arise from time to time under those agreements.”

The NLRB even overruled an arbitration panel and its own administrative law judge during its 2008 ruling, reports The Hill. The board found Verizon had no right to stop the workers from displaying pro-union signs despite the picket waiver. Employers and unions have the right to waive labor privileges for any reason when negotiating contracts.

“The arbitrator had decided that when employees placed picket signs in the windshields of their cars, parked in a row on company property, that they violated the IBEW’s promise not to picket Verizon facilities,” Verizon continued. “The Court now has rejected the NLRB’s decision.”

The IBEW and the NLRB did not respond to a request for comment by TheDCNF.

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