Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pepsi-Cola Products Phils. v. Secretary of Labor (1999)

Facts: Pepsi-Cola Employees Organization-UOEF (PCEU) filed a petition for certification election with the Med-Arbiter seeking to be the exclusive bargaining agent of supervisors of Pepsi-Cola Philippines (Pepsi). The petition was granted, but with the explicit statement that PCEU was affiliated with Union de Obreros Estivadores de Filipinas (UOEF) and 2 other rank-and-file unions, the PCLU and the PEUP. 

Pepsi then filed a petition for cancellation with the BLR against PCEU, on the grounds that: (a) the members of PCEU were managers and (b) a supervisors' union cannot affiliate with a federation whose members include the rank and file union of the same company. It also filed an urgent ex-parte motion to suspend the certification election. 

PCEU argued that Art. 245 of the Labor Code, as amended by RA 6715, did not prohibit a local union composed of supervisory employees from being affiliated to a federation which has local unions with rank-and-file members as affiliates. Furthermore, Book V, Rule II, Section 7 of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code provides the grounds for cancellation of the registration certificate of a labor organization, and the inclusion of managerial employees is not one of the grounds. 

However, on 1992, or before the SC decision, the PCEU issued a resolution withdrawing from the UOEF. 

Issue: Whether or not PCEU may be affiliated with the rank-and-file unions. 

Held: PCEU's withdrawal from the affiliation made the case moot and academic. But for the guidance of others similarly situated, the Court ruled No. 

If the intent of the law is to avoid a situation where supervisors would merge with the rank and file or where the supervisors' labor organization would represent conflicting interests, then a local supervisors' union should not be allowed to affiliate with the national federation of union of rank-and-file employees where that federation actively participates in union activity in the company. 

The limitation is not confined to a case of supervisors' wanting to join a rank-and-file union. The prohibition extends to a supervisors' local union applying for membership in a national federation the members of which include local unions of rank and file employees. The intent of the law is clear especially where, as in this case at bar, the supervisors will be co-mingling with those employees whom they directly supervise in their own bargaining unit. 

In the collective bargaining process, managerial employees are supposed to be on the side of the employer, to act as its representatives, and to see to it that its interests are well protected. The employer is not assured of such protection if these employees themselves are union members. It is the same reason that impelled this Court to consider the position of confidential employees as included in the disqualification found in Art. 245 as if the disqualification of confidential employees were written in the provision. Said employees may act as spies of either party to a collective bargaining agreement.

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