Separate Juridical Personalities; Single Bargaining Unit

GENERAL RULE: We hold that the director of Labor Relations acted with grave abuse of discretion in treating the two companies as a single bargaining unit. That ruling is arbitrary and untenable because the two companies are indubitably distinct entities with separate juridical personalities. The fact that their businesses are related and that the 236 employees of Georgia Pacific International Corporation were originally employees of Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc. is not a justification for disregarding their separate personalities. Hence, the 236 employees, who are now attached to Georgia Pacific International Corporation, should not be allowed to vote in the certification election at the Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc. They should vote at a separate certification election to determine the collective bargaining representative of the employees of Georgia Pacific International Corporation. However, at this late hour, or after the lapse of more than five years, the result of the 1975 certification election should not be implemented. A new certification election should be held at Lianga Bay Logging Co., Inc. but the 236 employees should not be allowed to vote in that election. With respect to the refusal of the Secretary of Labor (now Minister of Labor and Employment) to entertain appeals from the orders of the Director of Labor Relations, that norm of conduct is based on the rule laid down by the Secretary himself in Rule V (Certification Cases and Intra-Union Conflicts of Book Five [Labor Relations]) of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code dated February 16, 1976, which Rule V provides: SECTION 10. Decision of the Bureau is final and inappealable. — The Bureau shall have twenty (20) working days from receipt of the records of the case within which to decide the appeal (from the Med-Arbiter). The decision of the Bureau in all cases shall be final and inappealable. (sic) That rule is in consonance with the policy of insuring speedy labor justice. It is noteworthy that pursuant to that policy Presidential Decree No. 1391, which took effect on May 29, 1978, eliminated appeals to the Secretary of Labor from the decisions of the National Labor Relations commission. (Diatagon Labor Federation Local v. Ople; G.R. No. L44493-94) EXCEPTION: Indeed, the three agencies in the case at bar failed to rebut the fact that they are managed through the Utilities Management Corporation with all of their employees drawing their salaries and wages from said entity; that the agencies have common and interlocking incorporators and officers; and that the PSVSIA, GVM and ASDA employees have a single Mutual Benefit System and followed a single system of compulsory retirement. No explanation was also given by petitioners why the security guards of one agency could easily transfer from one agency to another and then back again by simply filling-up a common pro forma slip called "Request for Transfer". Records also shows that the PSVSIA, GVM and ASDA always hold joint yearly ceremonies such as the "PGA Annual Awards Ceremony". In emergencies, all PSVSIA Detachment Commanders were instructed in a memorandum dated November 10, 1988 to get in touch with the officers not only of PSVSIA but also of GVM and ASDA. All of these goes to show that the security agencies concerned do not exist and operate separately and distinctly from each other with different corporate directions and goals. On the contrary, all the cross-linking of the three agencies' command, control and communication systems indicate their unitary corporate personality. Accordingly, the veil of corporate fiction of the three agencies should be lifted for the purpose of allowing the employees of the three agencies to form a single labor union. As a single bargaining unit, the employees therein need not file three separate petitions for certification election. All of these could be covered in a single petition. (Philippine Scouts Veterans v. Torres; G.R. No. 92357)

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