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32 Chris Garments Corp v. Hon. Patricia A. Sto.

Tomas and Chris Garments Workers she held that the petition could not be entertained except during the 60-day
Union-PTGWO, freedom period. She also found no reason to split petitioners bargaining unit.
G.R. No. 167426 January 12, 2009 6. On May 16, 2003, the union filed a second PCE. The MA dismissed the petition
TOPIC: BARGAINING AGENT, CERTIFICATION ELECTION PROCEEDINGS on the ground that it was barred by a prior judgment. On appeal, the SOLE
PONENTE: QUISUMBING, J. affirmed the decision of the MA.
7. On June 4, 2004, the union filed a third PCE. The MA dismissed the petition on
FACTS: the grounds that no EE relationship exists between the parties and that the case
1. On February 8, 2002, respondent Chris Garments Workers Union PTGWO, Local was barred by a prior judgment. On appeal, the SOLE granted the petition subject
Chapter No. 832, filed a PCE with the MA. The union sought to represent to the usual pre-election conference, among the regular R-F employees of Chris
petitioners R-F employees not covered by its CBA with the Samahan Ng Mga Garments Corp, with the following choices: (1) Chris Garments Workers Union
Manggagawa sa Chris Garments Corp Solidarity of Union in the Philippines for PTGWO Local Chapter No. 832; (2) Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Chris Garments
Empowerment and Reforms (SMCGC-SUPER), the certified bargaining agent of Corp. SUPER; and (3) No Union.
the R-F employees. The union alleged that it is a legit labor org with a Certificate 8. Petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari with the CA which was dismissed
of Creation of Local/Chapter No. PTGWO-832 dated January 31, 2002 issued by due to its failure to file a MR before filing the petition.
the BLR. 9. Incidentally, a certification election was conducted on June 21, 2005 among
2. Petitioner MDed the petition. It argued that it has an existing CBA from July 1, petitioners R-F employees where SMCGC-SUPER emerged as the winning union.
1999 to June 30, 2004 with SMCGC-SUPER which bars any PCE prior to the 60- The MA then certified SMCGC-SUPER as the SOBA of all the R-F employees of
day freedom period. It also contended that the union members are not its petitioner.
regular employees since they are direct employees of qualified and independent
contractors. ISSUES:
3. The union countered that its members are regular employees of petitioner since: 1. Is MR necessary before a party can certiorari the decision of the SOLE? YES
(1) they are engaged in activities necessary and desirable to its main business 2. Is the case barred by res judicata or conclusiveness of judgment? NO
although they are called agency employees; (2) their length of service have 3. Is there an EE relationship between petitioner and the union members? YES
spanned an average of 4 years; (3) petitioner controlled their work attitude and
performance; and (4) petitioner paid their salaries. The union added that while RATIO:
there is an existing CBA between petitioner and SMCGC-SUPER, there are other 1. Under DO No. 40-03, SOLE decision shall be final and cannot be subject of MR.
R-F employees not covered by the CBA who seek representation for CB purposes. Petitioner availed of the proper remedy since DO explicitly prohibits filing of MR.
It also contended that the contract bar rule does not apply. 2. The elements of res judicata are: (1) the first judgment is final; (2) court had
4. The MA dismissed the petition. The MA ruled that there was no EE relationship jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties; (3) judgment on the merits;
between the parties since the union itself admitted that its members are agency and (4) identity of parties, subject matter, and causes of action. The 4th element
employees. The MA also held that even if the union members are considered is missing. In this case, the SOLE dismissed the first petition as it was filed outside
direct employees of petitioner, the PCE will still fail due to the contract bar rule the 60-day freedom period. At that time therefore, the union has no cause of
under Article 232 of the LC. Hence, a petition could only be filed during the 60- action since they are not yet legally allowed to challenge openly and formally the
day freedom period of the CBA or from May 1, 2004 to June 30, 2004. status of SMCGC-SUPER as the SOBA of the bargaining unit. Such dismissal,
Nevertheless, the MA ruled that the union may avail of the CBA benefits by however, has no bearing in the instant case since the third PCE was filed well
paying agency fees to SMCGC-SUPER. within the 60-day freedom period. Otherwise stated, there is no identity of
causes of action to speak of since in the first petition, the union has no cause of
5. The SOLE then affirmed the decision of the MA. She ruled that petitioner failed
action while in the third, a cause of action already exists for the union as they
to prove that the union members are employees of qualified and independent
are now legally allowed to challenge the status of SMCGC-SUPER as exclusive
contractors with substantial capital or investment and added that petitioner had
bargaining representative.
the right to control the performance of the work of such employees. She also
noted that the union members are garment workers who performed activities 3. The matter of EE relationship has been resolved with finality by the SOLE and it
directly related to petitioners main business. Thus, the union members may be was not appealed.
considered part of the bargaining unit of petitioners R-F employees. However,