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CASE NAME: Metrolab Industries Inc., v. Roldan-Confesor(Sec.

DOLE) and Metro Drug


Corporation Employees Association-Federation of Free Workers
Facts of the Case:
Private respondent, Metro Drug Corporation Employees Association-Federation og Free
Workers, herein after referred to as the Union, is a labor organization representing the
rank and file employees of the petitioner, Metrolab Industries, Inc., hereinafter referred to
Metrolan/MII and also of the Metro Druc, Inc.
On December 31, 1990, the CBA between the Metrolab and Union expired and the
negotiations for a new CBA ended in a deadlock.
On August 23, 1991, the Union files a notice of strike against Metrolab and Metro Drug
Inc.
The parties failed to settle their dispute before the National Conciliation and Mediation
Board.
To contain the escalating dispute, on September 20, 1991, the then Secretary of Labor
and Employment issued an assumption order, which contains among others a directive
to cease and desist from committing all acts that might exacerbate the situation.
On December 27, 1991, another order was issued resolving all the disputed items in the
CBA and ordered the parties involved to execute a new CBA.
The union filed a motion for reconsideration.
On January 27, 1992, during the pendency of the MR, Metrolab laid off 94 of its rank and
file employees.
On the same date, the Union filed a motion for a cease and desist order to stop the
Metrolab from implementing the mass layoff, alleging that such act violated the
prohibition against committing acts that would exacerbate the dispute as specifivally
directed in the assumption order.
Metrolab contented that the layoff was temporary and in the exercise of its management
prerogative as the company would suffer a yearly gross revenue.
On January 23, 2993, th3 Labor Secretary Confesor issued an Omnibus Resolution
containing the order that the layoff of the 94 employees is illegal. The Labor Secretary
Confesor also ruled that executive secretaries are excluded from the closed-shop
provision of the CBA, not from the bargaining unit.
Issue:
1. Whether or not the temporary layoff is illegal?
2. Whether or not the public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in including
executive secretaries as part of the bargaining unit of the rank and file employees?
Held:
1. Yes. The court recognizes the exercise if the management prerogatives and often
declines to interfere with the legitimate business decision of the employer. However, this
privilege is not absolute but subject to limitations imposed by law.
The Secretary of Labor is expressly given the power under the Labor Code to assume
jurisdiction and resolve the labor dispute involving industries indispensable to national
interest.
The unilateral action of management is a blatant violation of the injunction of the Labor
Secretary against committing acts which would exacerbate the dispute. Unless such act
is enjoined the Union will be compelled to resort to its legal right to mass actions and
concerted activities to protest and stop said management action. This mass layoff is
clearly one, which result in a very serious labor dispute unless the department swiftly
intervenes.
The Metrolabs contention that the layoff if the 94 rank and file employees was temporary
is untenable since from the tenor of the layoff notice, the notice was couched in a
language so uncertain tha the only conclusion possible is the permanent termination.

2. Yes. Executive Secretaries are confidential employees, having access to vital


information. Forming part of the bargaining unit, the executive secretaries stand to
benefit from ant agreement executed between the Union and Metrolab. Such scenario
gives rise to a potential conflict between personal interests and their duty as confidential
employees to act for and in behalf of Metrolab.