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Bars to Certification Election: Contract Bar Rule - Effect of Early Agreement ● Petitioner filed an MR but was denied.

but was denied. Then, petitioner appealed before the CA


00 COLEGIO DE SAN JUAN DE LETRAN V. ASSOC. OF EMPLOYEES & but was also denied. Hence this petition.
FACULTY OF LETRAN AND ELEANOR AMBAS
September 2000, | Kapunan, J. | Ruling:
W/N Colegio de San Juan de Letran is guilty of unfair labor practice by refusing
Petitioner/s: Colegio de San Juan de Letran to bargain with the union upon mere information that a petition for certification
Respondent/s: Association of Employees and Faculty of Letran (AEFL) and Eleanor was filed by another legitimate labor organization – YES. Filing of the certification
Ambas election DID NOT bar the on going negotation since there was no representation
issue involved, also, bad faith on the petitioner in clearly refusing to negotiate with the
Facts: union.
● Earlier in 1992, the Association of Employees and Faculty of Letran (AEFL) ● Art. 252 of the Labor Code states that both parties have the "mutual obligation" to
elected a new set of officers (who will probably take over in 1993) wherein private meet and convene promptly and expeditiously in good faith to negotiate an
respondent Eleanor Ambas (Ambas) emerged as the new President agreement.
● December 1992 – incumbent President Salvador Abtria of the AEFL initiated the ● Petitioner's lack of interest in bargaining is obvious in its failure to make a timely
renegotiation of its CBA with petitioner Colegio de San Juan de Letran for the last reply to the proposals presented by the AEFL. More than a month after the
2 years of the CBA's 5-year lifetime (1989 – 1994) proposals were submitted to petitioner, there was still no action from the same.
● Ambas wanted to continue the CBA renegotiation but petitioner Colegio de San ● Art. 250 states that in collective bargaining, the other party shall make a reply not
Juan de Letran through Fr. Edwin Lao claimed that the CBA was already later than 10 calendar days from receipt.
prepared for signing of the parties. ● KIOK LOY V. NLRC
● The parties submitted the disputed CBA to referendum where the union ○ Company's refusal to make a counter-proposal to the union's proposed
members rejected such CBA. CBA is an indication of bad faith
● Petitioner school accused the AEFL officers of bargaining in bad faith and filed a ○ Employer not bothering to submit an answer to the bargaining proposals
case with the NLRC. Labor Arbiter Edgardo Madriaga ruled in favor of petitioner is a clear evasion of the duty to bargain collectively
but was reversed on appeal before the NLRC. ● In the case at bar, the way petitioner acted shows a lack of sincere desire to
● January 1996 – the union notified the National Conciliation and Mediation Board negotiate which is an unfair labor practice in itself
(NCMB) of its intention to strike on the following grounds: ● The petitioner is also guilty of various 'delaying tactics':
○ Petitioner's non-compliance with the NLRC order to delete the ○ The work schedule of the union president was changed from Mon-Fri to
name of Atty. Federico Leynes as the union's legal counsel Tue-Sat which prompted the president to request that such issue be
○ Petitioner's refusal to bargain, in spite of the NLRC order submitted to the grievous machinery (but this request was denied)
● In the same month, parties agreed to disregard the unsigned CBA and start ○ Then, the petitioner and the union met to discuss grounds for the
renegotiation on a new 5-year CBA (1994-1999). negotiation, however, just after TWO DAYS, the union president was
● February 1996 – AEFL submitted its proposals to petitioner. Petitioner notified DISMISSED for alleged insubordination
the union six days later that the proposals have been submitted to its Board of ○ In a final attempt to thrwart the bargaining process, petitioner
Trustees suspended the negotiation on the ground that a new group of
● In the meantime, Ambas was informed by her superior that her work schedule employees called the Association of Concerned Employees of Colegio
was being changed from Mon-Fri to Tue-Sun. Ambas protested and requested (ACEC) had filed a petition for certification election.
the issue to be submitted to the greviance machinery. Unfortunately, petitioner ● The SC also held that the fact that the petitioner already submitted the union's
failed to act upon such request. proposals to the Board of Trustees is not enough to indicate its intention to
● Due to such inaction, AEFL filed a notice of strike in March. Subsequently, the bargain. Evidence on record belie the assertions of petitioner.
parties met before the NCMB to discuss ground rules for negotiation. However, 2 ● The SC also held that petitioner's assertion that the pendency of the petition of
days after this meeting, the union received petitioner's letter dismissing Ambas certification election means that it has no duty to bargain collectively with the
for insubordination. The union amended its notice of strike to include such union is INCORRECT.
issue. ○ For the employer to validly suspend the bargaining process, there must
● June 1996 – the union conducted their strike. be a valid petition for certification raising a legitimate
● July 1996 – the Secretary of Labor and Employment (SOLE) assumed representation issue.
jurisdiction and ordered all striking employees to return to work and for petitioner ○ Mere filing of the certification election does not ipso facto justify the
to accept them suspension of the negotiations by the employer. The petition must first
● Petitioner readmitted the striking members EXCEPT Ambas. Parties submitted comply with the provisions of the Labor Code and its IRR.
their pleadings and position papers. ■ Must follow the "Contract Bar Rule" under Section 3, Rule XI,
● December 1996 – the SOLE issued an order declaring petitioner guilty of unfair Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code,
labor practice on two counts and directing the reinstatement of Ambas with back that is, if a CBA has been duly registered "…a petition for
wages certification election or a motion for intervention can only be
entertained within 60 days prior to the expiry date of such WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
agreement"
■ This means that despite the lapse of the formal effectivity of Notes
the CBA, the law considers the same as continuing in force
and in effect until a new CBA is validly executed, hence, the
contract bar rule still applies. The purpose is to ensure the
stability of the relationship of the workers and the company by
preventing frequent modifications of any CBA earlier entered
into in good faith within the stipulated original period.
● In this case: the original CBA was from 1989 – 1994. ACEC filed its certification
election with the DOLE only on May 26, 1996 which is obviously outside the 60
day freedom period. Thus the filing thereof was barred by the existence of a
valid and existing CBA (contract bar rule). Moreover, there is no legitimate
representation issue, thus the filing of the certification election did not constitute
a bar to the ongoing negotiation. (Digerster's Note: I think this is an exception
to the contract bar rule, i.e. even with a valid existing CBA, if there is a
representation issue, the filing of a certification election would BAR the ongoing
negotiation until such representation issue is resolved)
● Reliance by petitioner on the case of Lakas ng Manggagawang Makabayan v.
Marcelo Enterprises is misplaced because that case involved a legitimate
representation issue which is not present here.

W/N the termination of the union president (Ms. Ambas) amounts to an


interference of the employees' right to self-organization – YES. The factual
backdrop of the termination of the union president would show that obvoiusly she was
dismissed to strip the union of a leader who would fight for the union at the bargaining
table.
● Though the employer has the right to terminate employees for just/ authorized
cause, the dismissal of employees must be made within the parameters of the
law and pursuant to the tenets of equity and fair play.
● Such dismissal must not amount to interfering with/ restrainng employees in their
exercise of their right to self-organization.
● In this case, it is obvious that the petitioner dismissed the union president in an
attempt to cripple the union.
○ At the time of Ms. Ambas' dismissal, she had been working for 10 years
with Letran, with the same Mon-Fri schedule.
○ Things began to change when she was elected as a union president
and it was during the difficult negotiations that her schedule was
changed. When she did not budge, she was outrightly dismissed.
○ Assuming arguendo that Ms. Ambas was guilty, such disobedience was
not a valid ground to terminte her employment.
○ Admittedly, management has the prerogative to discipline its
employees for insubordination. But when the exercise of such
management right tends to interfere with the employees' right to
self-organization, it amounts to union-busting and is therefore a
prohibited act.

Dispositive
In this case, the totality of conduct of the employer shows an evident attempt to
restrain the employees from fully exercising their rights under the law. This cannot be
done under the Labor Code.