Arbitrator Jack Tillem has issued an award in a dispute concerning the layoff provisions of the Verizon/CWA labor agreement. The dispute arose when Verizon notified the Union that it would be laying off certain employees in New York City. The Union claimed that the contract required that layoffs take place in inverse seniority order from among all employees in the affected title in the 13 state bargaining unit. Verizon claimed that the relevant language limited the layoffs to employees in the affected work group.
Agreeing with Verizon, Arbitrator Tillem found the language of the agreement was not ambiguous and, by its terms, supported the Company’s actions. He also noted the practical difficulties the Union’s interpretation would create, and concluded that the failure of the parties to address these difficulties in contract language tended to suggest that the union’s interpretation was not the intended one. A copy of Arbitrator Tillem’s award can be found here.