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PBM Employees Organization v. Philippine Blooming Mills (PBM)
GR L-31195, 5 June 1973
· On 1 March 1969, members and officers of the Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization (PBMEO) decided to stage a mass demonstration at Malacañang on 4 March 1969, in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig police, to be participated in by the workers in the first shift (from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M.) as well as those in the regular second and third shifts (from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. and from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., respectively).
· They informed the Company of their proposed demonstration, and proceeded with the demonstration despite pleas from the Philippine Blooming Mills.
· The Company filed on 4 March 1969 with the lower court, charging the PBMEO officers and participating members of violation of Section 4(a) to 6 in relation to Section 13 to 14, as well as Section 15, of Republic Act 875 and with the CBA providing for No Strike and No Lockout.
· The charge was followed by the filing of a corresponding complaint on 18 April 1969. Judge Joaquin Salvador, in an order dated 15 September 1969, found PBMEO guilty of bargaining in bad faith and declaring the officers and members directly responsible for perpetrating the said unfair labor practice and were considered to have lost their status as employees of the company.
· A motion for reconsideration was filed 15 September 1969, which was dismissed in a resolution dated 9 October 1969. On 31 October 1969, PBMEO filed with the Court of Industria Relations (CIR) a petition for relief from the order dated 9 October 1969, on the ground that their failure to file their motion for reconsideration on time was due to excusable negligence and honest mistake committed by the president of the Union and of the office clerk of their counsel.
· Without waiting for any resolution on their petition for relief, PBMEO filed on 3 November 1969, with the Supreme Court, a notice of appeal.
Whether the Company can prevent its workers from engaging in concerted activity against alleged abuses of policemen, especially if such work stoppage would prejudice the Company’s operation, else its profits.
No. The demonstration, being directed against alleged abuses of policemen and not against their employer, was purely and completely an exercise of their freedom of expression in general and of their right of assembly and of petition for redress of grievances in particular before the appropriate governmental agency.
They exercised their civil and political rights for their mutual aid and protection from what they believe were police excesses. It was the duty of the firm to protect the Union and its members from the harassment of local police officers. It was to the interest of the firm to rally to the defense of, and to take up the cudgels for, its employees, so that they can report to work free from harassment, vexation or peril and as a consequence perform more efficiently their respective tasks to enhance its productivity as well as profits. Although the demonstration paralyzed to a large extent the operations of the complainant company, there is no finding involving the loss actually sustained by the firm. On the contrary, the company saved a sizable amount in the form of wages for its hundreds of workers, cost of fuel, water and electric consumption that day. Such savings could have amply compensated for unrealized profits or damages it might have sustained by reason of the absence of its workers for only one day.