Dichotomy of interests rule


To determine the acceptability or appropriateness of the collective bargaining unit (CBU), the basic test is community or mutuality of interests. Since a CBU is a form of grouping, it is best for the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) and the courts to consider such community of interests.

Thus, the question to be answered is whether the combination of workers is fundamentally the best way to assure to all employees the exercise of their collective bargaining rights. It considers the desires of the employees as one of the factors. (G.R. No. 96189)

The reason for the community of interests rule is that the collective bargaining process will have more chances of success because the CBU is united in their demands and employees therein have a concrete understanding of one another's needs and demands. According to the University of the Philippines Reviewer (2016) in labor law, the bargaining unit is designed to maintain the mutuality of interest among the employees in such unit. When the interest between groups has changed over time, there is reason to dissolve, change or expand a certain bargaining unit.

The opposite of the community of interests rule in the dichotomy of interests rule which justifies separation of bargaining units between two or more groups of employees. Such dichotomy or dissimilarity, according to the High Court, may be due to responsibilities and functions, working conditions, compensation rates, social life and interests, skills and intellectual pursuits, cultural activities, etc

In the case of UP v. Calleja, the University employees may quite easily be categorized into two general classes: one, the group composed of employees whose functions are non-­academic, i.e., janitors, messengers, typists, clerks, receptionists, carpenters, electricians, grounds-keepers, chauffeurs, mechanics, plumbers; and two, the group made up of those performing academic functions, i.e., full professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors -- who may be judges or government executives -- and research, extension and professorial staff. (G.R. No. 96189)Not much reflection is needed to perceive that the community or mutuality of interests which justifies the formation of a single collective bargaining unit is wanting between the academic and non-academic personnel of the university. It would seem obvious that teachers would find very little in common with the University clerks and other non-academic employees as regards responsibilities and functions, working conditions, compensation rates, social life and interests, skills and intellectual pursuits, cultural activities, etc.

On the contrary, the dichotomy of interests, the dissimilarity in the nature of the work and duties as well as in the compensation and working conditions of the academic and non-academic personnel dictate the separation of these two categories of employees for purposes of collective bargaining. The formation of two separate bargaining units, the first consisting of the rank-and-file non-academic personnel, and the second, of the rank-and-file academic employees, is the set-up that will best assure to all the employees the exercise of their collective bargaining rights. These special circumstances, i.e., the dichotomy of interests and concerns as well as the dissimilarity in the nature and conditions of work, wages and compensation between the academic and non-academic personnel, bring the case at bar within the exception contemplated in Section 9 of Executive Order No. 180. It was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Labor Relations Director to have ruled otherwise, ignoring plain and patent realities.

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