a collections of case digests and laws that can help aspiring law students to become a lawyer.
NATIONAL UNION OF WORKERS IN HOTELS, RESTAURANTS AND ALLIED INDUSTRIES- MANILA PAVILION HOTEL CHAPTER vs SEC. OF LABOR
A certification election was conducted on June 16, 2006 among the rank-and-file employees of respondent Holiday Inn Manila Pavilion Hotel (the Hotel) with the following results:
EMPLOYEES IN VOTERS’ LIST=353
TOTAL VOTES CAST=346
In view of the significant number of segregated votes, contending unions, petitioner, NUHWHRAIN-MPHC, and respondent Holiday Inn Manila Pavillion Hotel Labor Union (HIMPHLU), referred the case back to Med-Arbiter to decide which among those votes would be opened and tallied. 11 votes were initially segregated because they were cast by dismissed employees, albeit the legality of their dismissal was still pending before the Court of Appeals. Six other votes were segregated because the employees who cast them were already occupying supervisory positions at the time of the election. Still five other votes were segregated on the ground that they were cast by probationary employees and, pursuant to the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), such employees cannot vote. It bears noting early on, however, that the vote of one Jose Gatbonton (Gatbonton), a probationary employee, was counted.
Med-Arbiter Calabocal ruled for the opening of 17 out of the 22 segregated votes, especially those cast by the 11 dismissed employees and those cast by the six supposedly supervisory employees of the Hotel.
Petitioner, who garnered 151 votes, appealed to the Secretary of Labor and Employment (SOLE), arguing that the votes of the probationary employees should have been opened considering that probationary employee Gatbonton’s vote was tallied. And petitioner averred that respondent HIMPHLU, which garnered 169 votes, should not be immediately certified as the bargaining agent, as the opening of the 17 segregated ballots would push the number of valid votes cast to 338 (151 + 169 + 1 + 17), hence, the 169 votes which HIMPHLU garnered would be one vote short of the majority which would then become 169.
Secretary affirmed the decision of the med-arbiter. In fine, the SOLE concluded that the certification of HIMPHLU as the exclusive bargaining agent was proper.
Whether employees on probationary status at the time of the certification elections should be allowed to vote.
Yes. The inclusion of Gatbonton’s vote was proper not because it was not questioned but because probationary employees have the right to vote in a certification election. The votes of the six other probationary employees should thus also have been counted. As Airtime Specialists, Inc. v. Ferrer-Calleja holds:
In a certification election, all rank-and-file employees in the appropriate bargaining unit, whether probationary or permanent are entitled to vote. This principle is clearly stated in Art. 255 of the Labor Code which states that the “labor organization designated or selected by the majority of the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit shall be the exclusive representative of the employees in such unit for purposes of collective bargaining.” Collective bargaining covers all aspects of the employment relation and the resultant CBA negotiated by the certified union binds all employees in the bargaining unit. Hence, all rank-and-file employees, probationary or permanent, have a substantial interest in the selection of the bargaining representative. The Code makes no distinction as to their employment status as basis for eligibility in supporting the petition for certification election. The law refers to “all” the employees in the bargaining unit. All they need to be eligible to support the petition is to belong to the “bargaining unit.”
For purposes of this section (Rule II, Sec. 2 of Department Order No. 40-03, series of 2003), any employee, whether employed for a definite period or not, shall beginning on the first day of his/her service, be eligible for membership in any labor organization.
All other workers, including ambulant, intermittent and other workers, the self-employed, rural workers and those without any definite employers may form labor organizations for their mutual aid and protection and other legitimate purposes except collective bargaining.
The provision in the CBA disqualifying probationary employees from voting cannot override the Constitutionally protected right of workers to self-organization, as well as the provisions of the Labor Code and its Implementing Rules on certification elections and jurisprudence thereon.
A law is read into, and forms part of, a contract. Provisions in a contract are valid only if they are not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy.