Verizon New England Inc. v. NLRB, No. 15-1062 (D.C. Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and Verizon provided for arbitration of disputes arising out of that agreement. After an arbitration panel interpreted the CBA in Verizon's favor, the union took the matter to the NLRB. After the ALJ ruled in favor of Verizon, the union appealed to the Board. The Board overruled the arbitration decision, determining 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 court concluded that, under the Spielberg-Olin standard, the arbitration panel’s decision in this case was not clearly repugnant to the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 151 et seq. First, the arbitration panel’s decision was susceptible to an interpretation consistent with the Act, because under the Act unions may waive their members’ right to display signs in cars on the employer’s premises. And second, the arbitration panel’s decision was not a “palpably wrong” interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement. Therefore, the court concluded that the Board’s contrary decision was unreasonable. The court granted Verizon's petition for review and denied the Board's cross-application for enforcement.