Verizon Pa., LLC v. Commc’n Workers of Am.

The Third Circuit ruled that the functus officio doctrine is alive and well. That doctrine prohibits arbitrators from revisiting their decisions without the parties’ consent. Union Verizon employees brought a grievance against their employer because Verizon altered their options for customers who wanted a new set-top box. Previously, the only option was for union employees to deliver and install the boxes. But among other new options, customers could have a new set-top box mailed to them for self-installation. An arbitrator determined that using the postal service to deliver the set-top boxes violated the collective bargaining agreement, which required that a union employee complete service. But when the parties could not resolve the issue of damages amicably, they returned to the arbitrator. The arbitrator then ruled that the customers’ self-installation of those set-top boxes also violated the CBA. The Third Circuit held that the second ruling violated the functus officio doctrine by expanding the first (and final) merits ruling.

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