Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Cebu Seaman's Association vs. Ferrer-Calleja

Facts: A group of deck officers and marine engineers organized themselves into an association and registered the same as a non-stock corporation known as Cebu Seaman's Association, Inc. (CSAI) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The same group subsequently registered its association with the Bureau of Labor Relations as a labor union known as the Seamen's Association of the Philippines, Incorporated (SAPI). 

SAPI has an existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with Aboitiz Shipping Corporation which remitted checked-off dues to SAPI. Later on, a group of union members headed by Manuel Gabayoyo claimed that they are entitled to the custody of the union dues because they were elected as the new set of officers under the supervision of SEC. Another group headed by Dominica Nacua, claiming that they were the duly elected set of officers of the union and therefore entitled to the union dues, filed a complaint to restrain the group of Gabayoyo from representing the union. CSAI represented by the Gabayoyo group, however, claimed that since Nacua was already expelled as officer/member, she has no personality to represent the union. 

Issue: Whether or not Seamen's Association of the Philippines is a legitimate labor organization, and therefore entitled to the custody of the union dues

Held: No. CSAI is not a legitimate labor organization because it is only registered with SEC. It is the registration of the organization with the Bureau of Labor Relations and not with the SEC which made it a legitimate labor organization with rights and privileges granted under the Labor Code. 

On the basis of the evidence presented by the parties, SAPI, the legitimate labor union, registered with its office, is not the same association as CSAI, the corporation, insofar as their rights under the Labor Code are concerned. Hence, SAPI and not the CSAI is entitled to the release and custody of union fees with Aboitiz Shipping and other shipping companies with whom it had an existing CBA. 

The election of the so-called set of officers headed by Manuel Gabayoyo was conducted under the supervision of the SEC. That being the case, the aforementioned set of officers is of the CSAI and not of SAPI. It follows, then, that any proceedings, and actions taken by said set of officers can not, in any manner, affect the union and its members. 

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