Appeals court tosses NLRB ruling in union dispute with Verizon

Appeals court tosses NLRB ruling in union dispute with Verizon
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The nation’s second most powerful court on Tuesday threw out a ruling from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a case challenging whether Verizon employees have the right to display pro-union signs if their union waived their right to picket.

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The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NLRB misapplied its highly deferential standard for reviewing arbitration cases when it ruled that in waiving its members’ right to picket, the union did not waive members' right to display pro-union signs in cars on Verizon property.

The case — Verizon New England v. NLRB — centers on a labor dispute between Verizon and its unionized employees. During the dispute, employees hung pro-union signs in cars parked on Verizon property in a line for passers-by to see.  

Verizon argued that employees violated a collective bargaining agreement their union had signed waiving their right to picket.

An arbitration panel agreed, siding with Verizon. The union took the matter to the NLRB, where an administrative law judge again ruled in favor of Verizon. On appeal, however, the board ruled 2-1 in favor of the union, overturning the arbitrators' decision.

In the court’s decision on Tuesday, Judge Brett Kavanaugh said the arbitration panel had correctly interpreted the union’s collective bargaining agreement with Verizon.

“In short, there was nothing approaching egregious error in the arbitration panel’s decision to interpret the ban on picketing to encompass the visible display of picket signs in employees’ cars on Verizon property,” he said.