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LABOR RELATIONS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

15. Assn. of Court of Appeals Employees v. Ferrer-Calleja:


Facts: We are asked in this petition to ascertain the power, if any, of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), more
specifically the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), to supervise the activities of government employees; in this case, unions of judiciary
personnel who serve in the Court of Appeals.
Issue No.1: What is the law which governs certification elections in the Court of Appeals?
Ruling: The Solicitor General argues that the applicable law is Executive Order No. 180 issued on June 1, 1987. The petitioner
questions the validity of Executive Order No. 180 but limits its challenge to an alleged violation of the separation of powers doctrine.
The argument is self-defeating because, followed to its logical conclusion, only this Court would have the power to supervise
certification elections in the Court of Appeals.
It is axiomatic, for example, that any demands of court employees for higher compensation or improved facilities must be viewed in the
context of the fiscal autonomy guaranteed by the Constitution to the Judiciary. (Constitution, Article VIII, Section 3). Neither DOLE, the
Civil Service Commission (CSC), nor any other agency would have jurisdiction to adjudicate such claims. And since unresolved legal
questions commenced elsewhere are ultimately decided by us, the final decision on all such questions would still be with this Court.
All this does not mean that the separation of powers doctrine requires us to supervise the details of self-organization activities in the
courts. In the same way that CSC validly conducts competitive examinations to grant requisite eligibilities to court employees, we see
no constitutional objection to DOLE handling the certification process in the Court of Appeals, considering its expertise, machinery, and
experience in this particular activity.
Executive Order No. 180 states that certificates of registration of the legitimate employee representatives must be jointly approved by
the CSC Chairman and the DOLE Secretary. Executive Order No. 180 is not too helpful in determining whose opinion shall prevail if
the CSC Chairman and the DOLE Secretary arrive at different conclusions. At any rate, we shall deal with that problem when it occurs.
Insofar as power to call for and supervise the conduct of certification elections is concerned, we rule against the petitioner.
Issue No. 2: The petitioner argues that the respondent UCECA failed to prove that it no longer enjoys the support of the rank-and-file
employees. ACAE claims that it has 395 members. It states that if the fraudulently entered names numbering 88 are all deducted from
the 303 listed names for UCECA, there would actually be 215 members only left.
Ruling: It is precisely because the respondent union has been questioning the majority status of the petitioner that a petition for
certification election was filed. Nowhere in the rules is there a further requirement for a petitioning union to prove the lack of a majority
status of the incumbent representative or who among its listed members are not actually affiliated with it. What is merely required for a
petition for certification election to be granted is the filing of a verified petition which is supported by the signatures of at least twenty
(20%) percent of the covered employees. It is also essential that it is not filed within one (1) year from the date a declaration of a
previous final certification election result was issued.
It is the policy of the State in protecting the rights of labor to ensure and maintain industrial peace. For this reason, all employees of an
appropriate bargaining unit shall be given an opportunity to organize and to determine which labor organization should be their
exclusive bargaining representative. Hence, a petition for certification election filed by an interested labor organization shall be dealt
with accordingly, with a view to attaining this objective. This is especially true when it involves the ultimate respect for and protection of
the rights of government employees. In granting to employees in the civil service the right to organize, a procedure has been enacted
to allow them to select what union shall be the recognized representative for all those in one agency, i.e., a certification election.
16. Bautista vs. Court of Appeals
Facts: Petitioners claim to be incumbent officers of the Kaisahan at Kapatiran ng mga Manggagawa sa Metropolitan Waterworks and
Sewerage System (KKMK-MWSS). However, they are not individually named in the petition. In the main, the petition argues that public
respondents have no jurisdiction over an intra-union dispute among government employees, hence, cannot order a new election of
officers. A petition for election of officers of Kaisahan at Kapatiran ng mga Manggagawa at Kawani sa Metropolitan Waterworks and
Sewerage System (KKMK-MWSS) was filed by Bonifacio De Guzman, Director of the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), ruled that The
Labor Organizations Division, this Bureau, shall supervise the conduct of said election. Upon appeal, SOLE ruled: Records clearly
show that the subject of the present controversy is an intra union conflict involving an employees organization in the public sector
created and registered pursuant to Executive Order No. 180. Consequently, this office (referring to the Secretary of Labor and
Employment) has no other recourse but to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Wherefore, the instant appeal is hereby dismissed
for lack of jurisdiction. Accordingly, let the entire records of this case be returned to the Bureau of Labor Relations, for appropriate
action.
SC concurred, decision became final. Bautista again filed a petition seeking to enjoin the herein respondents from proceeding with the
election of officers of KKMK-MWSS scheduled on 02 December 1993, and to permanently prohibit them from exercising jurisdiction
over the conduct of election of the officers of the KKMK-MWSS. On 26 November 1993, the RTC, Quezon City, Branch 87, through
Judge Elsie Ligot Telan, issued a temporary restraining order. CA ruled upholding that the BLR had jurisdiction over an intra-union
dispute. SC declared that the regular courts have no jurisdiction to prohibit the holding of the election of the officers and members of
the board of KKMK-MWSS, as it is lodged with the BLR. When they again sought the guidance of the OGCC as to the effect of the
aforementioned Decision of the Court of Appeals, another opinion was issued by the OGCC which, they said, did not resolve that
question but instead merely reiterated its previous opinions deviant to the conclusions of the Court of Appeals.
Issue: Does the BLR have jurisdiction to call for and conduct the election of officers of an employees association in the public sector?
Ruling: It may be true that the ACAE case involved a certification election between two unions in a government entity. However, this
does not mean that our previous ruling cannot apply in the instant case. The authority of the BLR in assuming jurisdiction over a
certification election, or any inter-union or intra-union conflicts, is found in Article 226 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, which reads:

ART. 226. BUREAU OF LABOR RELATIONS. The Bureau of Labor Relations and the Labor Relations Division in the regional offices
of the Department of Labor shall have original and exclusive authority to act, at their own initiative or upon request of either or both
parties, on all inter-union and intra-union conflicts, and all disputes, grievances or problems arising from or affecting labor-management
relations in all workplaces whether agricultural or nonagricultural, except those arising from the implementation or interpretation of
collective bargaining agreements which shall be the subject of grievance procedure and/or voluntary arbitration.

The Bureau shall have fifteen (15) working days to act on labor cases before it, subject to extension by agreement of the parties.

It is quite clear from this provision that BLR has the original and exclusive jurisdiction on all inter-union and intra-union conflicts. An
intra-union conflict would refer to a conflict within or inside a labor union, and an inter-union controversy or dispute, one occurring or
carried on between or among unions.[44] The subject of the case at bar, which is the election of the officers and members of the board
of KMKK-MWSS, is, clearly, an intra-union conflict, being within or inside a labor union. It is well within the powers of the BLR to act
upon. The petitioner is asking us to make an illogical edict by declaring that our ruling in the ACAE case, considering that it involved an
inter-union conflict, should not apply to the instant case for the reason that the latter involves an intra-union conflict. This, we cannot do
because the law is very clear on this matter.

Executive Order No. 180 (1987),[45] particularly Section 16 thereof, is completely lucid as to the settlement of disputes involving
government employees, viz:
SEC. 16. The Civil Service and labor laws and procedures, whenever applicable, shall be followed in the resolution of complaints,
grievances and cases involving government employees.

Since Article 226 of the Labor Code has declared that the BLR shall have original and exclusive authority to act on all inter-union and
intra-union conflicts, then there should be no more doubt as to its jurisdiction.

We likewise find bereft of merit petitioners claim that his group did not in any way participate in the subject elections, and therefore, the
principle of estoppel cannot apply. In the Order of the RTC dated 01 July 1994, it appears that the petitioner, indeed, participated in the
election. A portion of the Order states:

Candidate Votes
Genaro C. Bautista 288
Prudencio Cruz 1080
Bonifacio De Guzman 1081

The petitioner was, undoubtedly, a candidate in the election. The 288 votes for him were counted in his favor. Further, the petitioner
and his group submitted a list of candidates before the BLR dated 04 October 1993[48], which included the name of petitioner himself.

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals being in accord with law, are
hereby AFFIRMED. Accordingly, the Urgent Motion to Declare the Administrator and Manager, Legal Department, MWSS, in indirect
contempt of court is DENIED, and the temporary restraining order earlier issued is hereby made permanent. Costs against the
petitioner.