Commingling: Inclusion of Employees Outside the Bargaining Unit; Effect Thereof

Then came Tagaytay Highlands Int'l. Golf Club, Inc. v. Tagaytay Highlands Employees Union-PGTWO in which the core issue was whether mingling affects the legitimacy of a labor organization and its right to file a petition for certification election. This time, given the altered legal milieu, the Court abandoned the view in Toyota and Dunlopand reverted to its pronouncement in Lopez that while there is a prohibition against the mingling of supervisory and rank-and-file employees in one labor organization, the Labor Code does not provide for the effects thereof. Thus, the Court held that after a labor organization has been registered, it may exercise all the rights and privileges of a legitimate labor organization. Any mingling between supervisory and rank-and-file employees in its membership cannot affect its legitimacy for that is not among the grounds for cancellation of its registration, unless such mingling was brought about by misrepresentation, false statement or fraud under Article 239 of the Labor Code.

In San Miguel Corp. (Mandaue Packaging Products Plants) v. Mandaue Packing Products Plants-San Miguel Packaging Products-San Miguel Corp. Monthlies Rank-and-File Union-FFW, the Court explained that since the 1997 Amended Omnibus Rules does not require a local or chapter to provide a list of its members, it would be improper for the DOLE to deny recognition to said local or chapter on account of any question pertaining to its individual members. More to the point is Air Philippines Corporation v. Bureau of Labor Relations, which involved a petition for cancellation of union registration filed by the employer in 1999 against a rank-and-file labor organization on the ground of mixed membership: the Court therein reiterated its ruling in Tagaytay Highlands that the inclusion in a union of disqualified employees is not among the grounds for cancellation, unless such inclusion is due to misrepresentation, false statement or fraud under the circumstances enumerated in Sections (a) and (c) of Article 239 of the Labor Code.

All said, while the latest issuance is R.A. No. 9481, the 1997 Amended Omnibus Rules, as interpreted by the Court in Tagaytay Highlands, San Miguel and Air Philippines, had already set the tone for it. Toyota and Dunlop no longer hold sway in the present altered state of the law and the rules.

The applicable law and rules in the instant case are the same as those in Kawashima because the present petition for certification election was filed in 1999 when D.O. No. 9, series of 1997, was still in effect. Hence, Kawashimaapplies with equal force here. As a result, petitioner union was not divested of its status as a legitimate labor organization even if some of its members were supervisory employees; it had the right to file the subject petition for certification election. (SMCC-Super v. Charter Chemical and Coating Corporation; G.R. No. 169717)

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