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ST. SCHOLASTICA'S COLLEGE vs. HON. RUBEN TORRES, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF LABOR AND EM LOYMENT, an!

SAMAHANG NG MANGGAGA"ANG ANG#EDU$ASYON SA STA. ES$OLASTI$A#NAFTEU, FACTS% etitioner St. Scholastica's College (COLLEGE, for brevity) and private respondent Samahan ng anggaga!ang "ang#Ed$%asyon sa Sta. Es%olasti%a#&'()E* (*&+O&, for brevity) initiated negotiations for a first#ever collective bargaining agreement. ' deadloc% in the negotiations prompted the *&+O& to file a &otice of Stri%e !ith the ,epartment of Labor and Employment )he *&+O& declared a stri%e. p$blic respondent SEC-E)'-. immediately ass$med /$risdiction over the labor disp$te and iss$ed on the same day a ret$rn#to#!or% order. )he *&+O& filed a motion for reconsideration of the ret$rn#to#!or% order 0$estioning inter alia the ass$mption of /$risdiction by the SEC-E)'-. over the labor disp$te !hich !as denied. )he COLLEGE sent individ$al letters to the stri%ing employees en/oining them to ret$rn to !or%, the *&+O& presented a list of (1) demands to the COLLEGE. )he most important of these demands !as the $nconditional acceptance bac% to !or% of the stri%ing employees. 2$t these !ere flatly re/ected. )he COLLEGE mailed individ$al notices of termination to the stri%ing employees. )he *&+O& officers and members then tried to ret$rn to !or% b$t !ere no longer accepted by the COLLEGE. )he *&+O& moved for the enforcement of the ret$rn#to#!or% order before respondent SEC-E)'-., citing 3selective acceptance of ret$rning stri%ers3 by the COLLEGE. -espondent SEC-E)'-. re0$ired the parties to s$bmit their respective position papers. )he COLLEGE prayed that respondent SEC-E)'-. $phold the dismissal of the employees !ho defied his ret$rn#to#!or% order. -espondent SEC-E)'-. iss$ed the assailed Order !hich, inter alia, directed the reinstatement of stri%ing *&+O& &'&(')s. &evertheless, the aforesaid Order held *&+O& *++ic')s responsible for the violation of the ret$rn#to#!or% and, correspondingly, s$stained their termination. "etitioner 0$estions the ass$mption by respondent SEC-E)'-. of /$risdiction to decide on termination disp$tes, maintaining that s$ch /$risdiction is vested instead in the Labor 'rbiter p$rs$ant to 'rt. 456 of the Labor Code. (a) E7cept as other!ise provided $nder this Code, the Labor 'rbiters shall have original and e7cl$sive /$risdiction to hear and decide, !ithin thirty (89) calendar days after the s$bmission of the case by the parties for decision !itho$t e7tension, the follo!ing cases involving all !or%ers, !hether agric$lt$ral or non#agric$lt$ral: . . . 4. )ermination disp$tes . . . ;. Cases arising from any violation of 'rticle 41< of this Code, incl$ding 0$estions on the legality of stri%es and loc%#o$ts . . . ISSUE% !hether respondent SEC-E)'-. has the po!er to ass$me /$risdiction over a labor disp$te and its incidental controversies, ca$sing or li%ely to ca$se a stri%e or loc%o$t in an ind$stry indispensable to the national interest RULING% .ES. =)>he Secretary !as e7plicitly granted by 'rticle 418 (g) of the Labor Code the a$thority to ass$me /$risdiction over a labor disp$te ca$sing or li%ely to ca$se a stri%e or loc%o$t in an ind$stry indispensable to the national interest, and decide the same accordingly. &ecessarily, this a$thority to ass$me /$risdiction over the said labor disp$te m$st incl$de and e7tend to all 0$estions and incl$de and e7tend to all 0$estions and controversies arising therefrom, incl$ding cases over !hich the Labor 'rbiter has e7cl$sive /$risdiction. 'rticle 456 of the Labor Code did contemplate of e7ceptions thereto !here the SEC-E)'-. is a$thori?ed to ass$me /$risdiction over a labor disp$te other!ise belonging e7cl$sively to the Labor 'rbiter. )his is readily evident from its opening proviso reading 3(e)7cept as other!ise provided $nder this Code . . . "revio$sly, @e held that 'rticle 418 (g) of the Labor Code !as broad eno$gh to give the Secretary of Labor and Employment the po!er to ta%e /$risdiction over an iss$e involving $nfair labor practice. , )he s$bmission of an incidental iss$e of a labor disp$te, in ass$mption andAor certification cases, to the Secretary of Labor and Employment for his resol$tion is th$s one of the instances referred to !hereby the latter may e7ercise conc$rrent /$risdiction together !ith the Labor 'rbiters.

ISSUE n*. -% (not the main one as stated by sir b$t still relevant) : !hether stri%ing $nion members, terminated for abandonment of !or% after failing to comply strictly !ith a ret$rn#to#!or% order, sho$ld be reinstated. RULING% )he respective liabilities of stri%ing $nion officers and members !ho failed to immediately comply !ith the ret$rn#to#!or% order is o$tlined in 'rt. 41< of the Labor Code !hich provides that any declaration of a stri%e or loc%o$t after the Secretary of Labor and Employment has ass$med /$risdiction over the labor disp$te is considered an illegal. act. 'ny !or%er or $nion officer !ho %no!ingly participates in a stri%e defying a ret$rn#to#!or% order may, conse0$ently, 3be declared to have lost his employment stat$s.3 )h$s that by insisting on staging the restrained stri%e and defiantly pic%eting the company premises to prevent the res$mption of operations, the stri%ers have forfeited their right to be readmitted, having abandoned their positions, and so co$ld be validly replaced. ' stri%e $nderta%en despite the iss$ance by the Secretary of Labor of an ass$mption or certification order becomes a prohibited activity and th$s illegal, p$rs$ant to the second paragraph of 'rt. 41< of the Labor Code as amended . . . )he $nion officers and members, as a res$lt, are deemed to have lost their employment stat$s for having %no!ingly participated in an illegal act. +t is clear from the provisions above 0$oted that from the moment a !or%er defies a ret$rn#to#!or% order, he is deemed to have abandoned his /ob.