Self-Organization among Cooperative's Employee-Members

A cooperative, therefore, is by its nature different from an ordinary business concern being run either by persons, partnerships, or corporations. Its owners and/or members are the ones who run and operate the business while the others are its employees. As above stated, irrespective of the name of shares owned by its member they are entitled to cast one vote each in deciding upon the affair of the cooperative. Their share capital eam limited interests. They enjoy special privileges as — exemption from income tax and sales taxes, preferential right to supply their products to State agencies and even exemption from the minimum wage laws. An employee therefore of such a cooperative who is a member and co-owner thereof cannot invoke the right to collective bargaining for certainly an owner cannot bargain with himself or his co-owners. In the opinion of August 14, 1981 of the Solicitor General he correctly opined that employees of cooperatives who are themselves members of the cooperative have no right to form orjoin labor organizations for purposes of collective bargaining for being themselves co-owners of the cooperative.

However, in so far as it involves cooperatives with employees who are not members or co-owners thereof, certainly such employees are entitled to exercise the rights of all workers to organization, collective bargaining, negotiations and others as are enshrined in the Constitution and existing laws of the country. (Batangas-I Electric Cooperative Labor Union v. Romeo A. Young; G.R. No. 62386)

As a general rule, members of cooperatives are not eligible […] even though they do not participate in the actual management of the cooperative. Irrespective of their degree of participation, they are still co-owners (Benguet Electric Cooperative v. Ferrer-Calleja, G.R. No. 79025) By way of exception, however, employees who withdrew their membership from the cooperative are entitled to form or join a labor union for the negotiations of a Collective Bargaining Agreement. (CENECO v. DOLE; G.R. No. 94045)