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Oriental Tin Can Labor Union v. Sec.

of Labor
August 28, 1998| Romero, J. | Substantial Support
Digester: Bea, Alexis
SUMMARY: Oriental Tin Can and Metal Sheet Manufacturing
Company, Inc. entered into a CBA with petitioner Oriental Tin Can
Labor Union (OTCLU)--the existing CBA was due to expire on April
15, 1994.
Four days later, 248 of the companys rank-and-file employees
authorized the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) to file a petition
for certification election. However, this petition was repudiated via
a written waiver by 115 of the signatories who, along with other
employees totalling 897, ratified the CBA on the same date.
Oriental Tin Can Workers Union Federation of Free Workers
(OTCWU-FFW) filed a petition for certification election with the
National Capital Region office of the Department of Labor and
Employment (DOLE), pursuant to Article 256 of the Labor Code.
The petition was accompanied by the authentic signatures of
25% of the employees/workers in the bargaining unit. The above
petition for certification elections was opposed by the OTCLU.
For its part, the company filed a comment alleging inter alia that
the new CBA was ratified by 897 out of the 1,020 rank-and-file
employees within the bargaining unit. The OTCLU then filed a
motion to dismiss and/or position paper reiterating its position that
the petition did not comply with the 25% signature requirement
and maintaining that the new CBA was a bar to a certification
election.
The certification election was allowed by USEC Laguesma and now
the resolution allowing such is being assailed by both the company
and OCTLU. The Court allowed the certification elections claiming
that it is the most expeditious way to resolve the issue of which
union may represent the workers in collective bargaining.
DOCTRINE: In line with the policy that holding of a CE is a
certain and definitive mode of arriving at the choice of employees
bargaining representative, the administrative rule requiring the
simultaneous submission of the 25% consent signatures upon filing

of the PCE should not be strictly applied to frustrate the


determination of the legitimate representative of the workers
FACTS:
The company, Oriental Tin Can and Metal Sheet Manufacturing
Company, entered into a CBA with Oriental Tin Can Labor
Union (OTCLU). This CBA was about to expire.
Four days later, 248 of the rank and file employees authorized
FFW to file a PCE
However, this petition was repudiated through a written
waiver by 115 signatories, who along with 897 other
employees, ratified the CBA on the same date
Oriental Tin Can Workers Union-FFW (OTCWU-FFW), armed
with a Charter Certificate, filed a PCE pursuant to Art. 256 of
the Labor Code
o Attached with the petition is the authentic
signatures of 25% of the employees in the
bargaining unit
OTCLU (original union) filed a manifestation praying for the
dismissal of the PCE
o Ground: not endorsed by at least 25% of the
employees of the bargaining unit because some of
the employees who initially signed the petition
allegedly withdrawn in writing such support prior
to filing of PCE
OTCWU-FFW (union 2) filed a reply claiming that the
retraction was not verified under oath and thus had no legal
effect
The company then filed a comment alleging that the new CBA
was ratified by 897 out of 1,020 employees in the bargaining
unit
OTCLU: petition did not garner 25% requirement and CBA was
a bar to a certification election
OTCWU-FFW: CBA was a sweetheart contract and concluded
within freedom period, and that additional employees gave
their support to the petition after the same had been filed
Company: CBA was ratified by 897 employees including the
245 workers who gave their consent to the filing of the petition
and that the benefits provided for are being enjoyed by the
workersthus a certification election would impair contract
o They also allege that officers of the OTCWU-FFW
were among those who ratified the CBA

OTCWU failed to name the supervisors and


workers hired after the filing of the petition
that were allegedly included in the list of rank
and file employees
DOLE issued a certificate or registration of CBAthus has the
force and effect of law between parties
Officers of OTCWU-FFW walked out of their jobs, which
prompted the company to require them to explain in writing
why no disciplinary action should be taken against them for
walking out en masse.
The following day, the union filed a notice of strike due to the
alleged dismissal of union members/officers. The latter were
directed by the company to return to work within 48 hours but
none of them did
MA: dismissed PCE and noted the petition was filed after valid
retractions were made (115, thus the remaining 133 were
clearly less than 25% subscription requirement)
OTCWU-FFW appealed to the Labor Secretary and during the
pendency of such, it staged a strike that prevented the free
ingress and egress of non-striking employees, and other
vehicles to and from the companys premises
NLRC, upon complaint, issued a writ of preliminary injunction
(daily losses of company amounted to P3.6M)
OTCWU-FFW appealed to Labor Secretary, then
Undersecretary Laguesma (July 15, 1994 resolution), issued a
resolution ordering a certification election: he held that
the petition was filed during the freedom period and no
registered CBA with the company could be invoked to
pose as a bar to the holding of a certification election
and that the best forum for the determination of whether
there were retractions is the certification election itself
where workers can freely express their choice in a secret
ballot
Also, the employees who allegedly withdrew from the union
executed joint statements (Sama-samang Pahayag) declaring
that the WAIVER document they signed has no force and effect
and they claimed it was obtained through duress, force, and
intimidation employed by the company after it learned of the
PCE
o

RULING: Both petitions DISMISSED

Whether or not the company has a right to interveneNO


(this issue isnt really important pero read na rin just in
case) GR 116779
Company assails the July 15 resolution claiming that Laguesma
gravely abused his discretion and that it has a right to question
the filing of PCE because the small number of employees who
had supported the PCE, subsequently changed their mind and
ratified the CBAthen reaped the fruits.
o Thus, pursuant to industrial peace, company deemed
it necessary to challenge the propriety of holding a
certification election
The Court held that the only instance where an employer may
concern itself with employee representation activities is when
it has to file the PCE because there is no CBA existing in the
unit and it was requested to bargain collectively
The companys interference in the CE by actively opposing the
same is manifestly uncalled for and unduly creates a suspicion
that it intends to establish a company union
Whether or not the 25% support requirement was metYES
The support requirement is a mere technicality which should
be employed in determining the true will of the workers
instead of frustrating it
In line with the policy that holding of a CE is a certain and
definitive mode of arriving at the choice of employees
bargaining representative, the administrative rule requiring
the simultaneous submission of the 25% consent signatures
upon filing of the PCE should not be strictly applied to
frustrate the determination of the legitimate
representative of the workers (PWUP v. Laguesma)
It is significant to note that this requirement is not found in
Article 256, the law it seeks to implementthus, the regulation
should be given only a directory effect
Accordingly, the mere filing of a petition for a certification
election within the freedom period is sufficient basis for the
issuance of an order for the holding of a certification election,
subject to the submission of the consent signatures
within a reasonable period after filing
Thus, the doubts as to the number of employees actually
supporting the holding of a certification election should be
resolved, therefore, by going through such procedure because
jurisprudence holds that it is the most effective and expeditious
means of determining the true representative for the working
force in the appropriate bargaining unit of the company

If OTCLU wanted to remain as such, it should have sought their


vote, not engage in legal sophistry
Whether or not other employees would be prejudiced
through the nullification of the CBANO
The argument that granting PCE would be prejudicial to all
employees since the new CBA would run the risk of being
nullified and employees would thus subsequently be required
to return whatever benefits they may have received should be
dismissed as baseless and highly speculative

The benefits derived from the CBA prematurely entered into


shall be in full force and effect until the appropriate bargaining
representative is chosen and negotiations for a new CBA is
concluded
Struggle between contending labor unions must not jeopardize
the implementation of a CBA that is advantageous to
employees