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325 F.2d 746 2 A.L.R.3d 868 The TIMKEN ROLLER BEARING COMPANY, Petitioner, v.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, Respondent. No. 15097.

United States Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit.


Dec. 21, 1963. John G. Ketterer, Canton, Ohio (Day, Cope, Ketterer, Raley & Wright, R. M. Rybolt, Canton, Ohio, on the brief), for petitioner. Melvin J. Welles, Atty., N.L.R.B., Washington, D.C. (Stuart Rothman, Gen. Counsel, Dominick L. Manoli, Associate Gen. Counsel, Marcel Mallet-Prevost, Asst. Gen. Counsel, Vivian Asplund, Atty., N.L.R.B., Washington, D.C., on the brief), for respondent. David E. Feller, Elliot Bredhoff, Jerry D. Anker, Michael H. Gottesman, Washington, D.C., Herschel Kriger, Canton, Ohio, on the brief amicus curiae for United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO. Before MILLER and WEICK, Circuit Judges, and WILLIAM E. MILLER, District Judge. SHACKELFORD MILLER, Jr., Circuit Judge. 1 The petitioner, The Timken Roller Bearing Company, hereinafter referred to as the 'Company,' seeks to set aside an order of the National Labor Relations Board issued on August 3, 1962, which held that petitioner violated Section 8(a)(5) and (1) of the National Labor Relations Act, Section 158(a)(5) and (1), Title 29 United States Code. The Board in its answer to the petition has requested enforcement of its order. It is agreed by the parties that the court has jurisdiction of the proceeding. 2 This is a so-called 'wage data' case, in which the Company is charged with having illegally refused to comply with the Union's request for information relating to the method used to establish the wages received by its employees. The Company's refusal to comply with this request is alleged to have been a refusal to bargain in good faith, thereby constituting an unfair labor practice, in violation of Section 8(a)(5). The violation of this section of the Act in turn results in the Company engaging in an unfair labor practice within the meaning of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

3 The Company, an Ohio corporation, maintains its principal office and place of business in Canton, Ohio, where it is engaged in the manufacture, sale and distribution of roller bearings. For many years the Union1 has been the bargaining representative of the production and maintenance workers at the Company's plant at Canton, Ohio. Each product and operation performed in the plant carries a fixed wage rate, which is determined by a very complex system of detailed time studies, operation observations, person motions recordings, and a myriad set of detailed evaluations of every separate element and aspect of the production process. The basic and precise elemental factors considered were all reduced to writings called time-study sheets. As the changing needs of the Company develop, old methods are reevaluated, new products are conceived, improved and more efficient methods are evolved, and, in consequence of successive studies and evaluations of work effort by the individual employee operators, changed basic time studies are produced and new and different wage rates established. 4 The Company's practice of using this complex technique for establishing the wage structure of the employee has been recognized in bargaining contracts between the parties prior to the contract involved in the present case, which was executed February 21, 1960. The 1960 contract provides that the wage structure in existence at the moment the current contract is signed shall be frozen for the duration of the agreement except as changed during its life pursuant to the contract provisions themselves. Article V, paragraph B, provides with respect to new rates: 5 'It is recognized that the Company at its discretion may find it necessary or desirable from time to time to establish new wage rates or to adjust existing wage rates because of any of the following circumstances: * * *.' 6 The contract thereafter lists six 'circumstances,' such as changes or improvements made in equipment, new or changed standards of manufacture, establishment of changed or new occupations in the plant, and the introduction of new products and additions to the present line of products in the plant. Under Article V, paragraph C, the Company agrees that when it deems it necessary or desirable to establish a new wage rate, it shall develop and install the new rate in accordance with the Company's practice in effect on the date of the agreement. Article V, paragraph C, also provides that a grievance may be filed by any employee who is affected by such new rate. Article IX sets forth the procedure for adjustment of grievances, which includes four successive steps, the last of which is arbitration. 7 In the summer of 1960, among the pending grievances, there were five directly arising from newly established wage rats, which the employees contended were a reduction of rates and improperly established under the contract. These five pending grievances had proceeded beyond the third step of the grievance procedure as far back as the summer of 1959 and awaited hearings before a chosen arbitrator in each instance. They were held in abeyance as the parties met in negotiation sessions

aimed at a renewal of the 1956 contract due to expire on August 24, 1959. A new two-year contract was signed on February 21, 1960. There is no substantial difference, in terms of wage provisions or grievance procedures, between the two agreements. 8 On July 18, 1960, the Union wrote a letter to the Company in which it requested wage rate information relating to the grievances involved in all five of the pending arbitration cases referred to above. This request included the original time study sheets and other documents relative to both the prior rates and the new rates, all other data and information which was used to determine the rate of pay for each job, and all documents, studies and other information that were used to evaluate such job, both prior to the change and thereafter, including full information as to the weights given to each factor used to arrive at a final decision on the established rate and what factors were considered in making such decision. It explained that this information was needed because 'each of these cases protest the institution of new reduced rates in place of rates theretofore in effect and/or the adequacy, fairness and method of establishment of new rates in their stead.' The letter further requested the Company to supply time study manuals, instructions and procedures used in the making of time studies of jobs in the plants. The letter stated that the information requested was necessary to the Union so that it might intelligently evaluate the various rates of pay in the plants, especially as they may be changed from time to time, and 'to properly administer the contract.' 9 The Company responded to the Union's request by letter of August 1, 1960, in which it stated that it would not comply with the request. The Union repeated its demand by letter of August 29. The Company again denied the request by letter of September 15. The Company's position was that its obligation to bargain with the representative of its employees, once the contract had been entered into, was to bargain on matters covered by the contract in the manner of bargaining prescribed by the contract; that it had no obligation to agree to any modification of the terms and conditions contained in the contract as long as it remained in effect; that the contract contained adequate provisions for the discussion and settlement of any and all grievances arising under the contract that dealt with the establishment of new rates; that if there was any information that the Union needed for the proper disposition of the listed rate grievances, it was its obligation to secure this information in accordance with the grievance provisions of the contract; and that under the contract, employees working under a new rate might choose to either file a grievance or not to do so, and that it was only when a grievance was filed that the Union had any responsibility with regard to the new rate, and then its interest was confined to the newly established specific rate and not to the rate structure in general. The Company stated that it was willing to proceed with respect to rate grievances strictly in conformity with the 1956 and 1960 agreements whichever was applicable, but it was not interested in negotiating a new contract dealing with the subject of rate establishment. In two grievances which went to arbitration the Company's action was consistent with this position, in that it declined to furnish requested wage information unless the arbitrator ruled that it was required to do so. In one of these matters the arbitrator ruled that the Company was not required to furnish the information requested. In the other matter the arbitrator asked the Company to deliver some of the requested wage data to the Union and the Company complied with this direction.

10 Following a charge by the Union on November 25, 1960, a complaint was issued on January 5, 1961, by the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the Company had committed an unfair labor practice affecting commerce within the meaning of Section 8(a)(1) and (5) of the Act. Following the filing of an answer by the Company and a hearing, the Board concurred in the findings and rulings of the Trial Examiner and issued its order of August 3, 1962, directing the Company to cease and desist from refusing to bargain collectively with the Union by refusing to furnish to the Union information and data concerning time studies and methods used for establishing wage rates, the affirmatively directing the Company to furnish such time studies, wage data and information to the Union upon request. This is the order which is before us on review. 11 It appears to be well settled that an employer is guilty of an unfair labor practice in refusing to bargain collectively as required by Sections 8(a)(5) and 8(d) of the Act, by refusing to furnish relevant wage information and data requested by a union as the certified representative of the employees in connection with negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement. N.L.R.B. v. J. H. Allison & Co., 165 F.2d 766, 3 A.L.R.2d 990, C.A.6th, cert. denied, 335 U.S. 814, 69 S.Ct. 31, 93 L.Ed. 369; N.L.R.B. v. Hekman Furniture Co., 207 F.2d 561, C.A.6th; N.L.R.B. v. John S. Swift Co., 277 F.2d 641, 645, C.A.7th; N.L.R.B. v. Leland-Gifford Co., 200 F.2d 620, 624, C.A.1st; N.L.R.B. v. Yawman & Erbe Mfg. Co., 187 F.2d 947, C.A.2nd. See also: N.L.R.B. v. Truitt Mfg. Co., 351 U.S. 149, 76 S.Ct. 753, 100 L.Ed. 1027. 12 The cases also hold that this right to relevant wage information and data is not limited to the period during which the employer and the union are engaged in negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement, but includes the processing of a grievance under the bargaining agreement and the union's bona fide actions in administering the bargaining agreement during the period of its existence. J. I. Case Company v. N.L.R.B., 253 F.2d 149, 155, C.A.7th; N.L.R.B. v. F. W. Woolworth Co., 352 U.S. 938, 77 S.Ct. 261, 1 L.Ed.2d 235, reversing N.L.R.B. v. F. W. Woolworth co., 235 F.2d 319, C.A.9th; N.L.R.B. v. Otis Elevator Co., 208 F.2d 176, C.A.2nd; N.L.R.B. v. Whiting Machine Works, 217 F.2d 593, 594, C.A.4th, cert. denied, 349 U.S. 905, 75 S.Ct. 583, 99 L.Ed. 1242; N.L.R.B. v. Item Company, 220 F.2d 956, 958, C.A.5th, cert. denied, 350 U.S. 836, 76 S.Ct. 73, 100 L.Ed. 746, rehearing denied, 350 U.S. 905, 76 S.Ct. 177, 100 L.Ed. 795; Boston Herald-Trav. Corp. v. N.L.R.B., 223 F.2d 58, 63, C.A.1st. 13 The Company contends that although the Union may have the right to such wage information, such right can be waived, and, in fact, was waived by the Union in the negotiations leading up to the execution of the collective bargaining agreement on February 21, 1960. 14 In the negotiations preceding the execution of that agreement the Union submitted a proposal which required the Company to furnish the kind of information now sought by it. This proposal was rejected by the Company. The Union, however, continued unsuccessfully to press this proposal. It was not included in the bargaining agreement as finally executed. The Company contends that this constituted

a waiver of the right of the Union to demand and obtain such data. N.L.R.B. v. Jacobs Mfg. Co., 196 F.2d 680, C.A.2nd; N.L.R.B. v. Nash-Finch Co., 211 F.2d 622, 626, 45 A.L.R.2d 683, C.A.8th; International News Service Div. of the Hearst Corp., 113 N.L.R.B. 1067. 15 This reasoning would probably be applicable if the right or benefit sought by the Union was a right or benefit which could only be acquired by virtue of the bargaining agreement. Under such circumstances a failure to include it in the agreement necessarily results in a failure to acquire it. United States Steel Corp. v. Nichols, 229 F.2d 396, 399-400, 56 A.L.R.2d 980, C.A.6th, cert. denied, 351 U.S. 950, 76 S.Ct. 846, 100 L.Ed. 1474. 16 However, in this case we agree with the Board that the Union's right to wage information it needed to administer the bargaining agreement was a right which it had under Section 8(d) of the National Labor Relations Act, Section 158(d), Title 29 United States Code, and the existence of this right was not dependent upon it being included in the bargaining agreement. It was not a right obtained by contract, such as would be the case in increased wages, longer vacations, pension rights, and certain so-called fringe benefits. The failure to have the right recognized by the Company in the bargaining agreement, which would probably eliminate the necessity of possible litigation over it later, does not mean that it does not exist by virtue of the statute. 17 The Company challenges the characterization of this right as a statutory right in that no statute expressly so provides. Although Section 8(d) of the Labor Relations Act does not expressly so provide, it has been construed by the cases hereinabove referred to as providing such a right, and we find no error in characterizing it as a statutory right. It was so characterized in N.L.R.B. v. Yawman & Erbe Mfg. Co., supra, 187 F.2d 947, 949, C.A.2nd. See also: California Portland Cement Co., 101 N.L.R.B. 1436. 18 Even so, we recognize that the Union could have relinquished this right under the provisions of the bargaining agreement if it, as a part of the bargaining process, elected to do so. But such a relinquishment must be in 'clear and unmistakable' language. Tide Water Associated Oil Company, 85 N.L.R.B. 1096; N.L.R.B. v. Item Company, supra, 220 F.2d 956, 958-959, C.A.5th, cert. denied, 350 U.S. 836, 76 S.Ct. 73, 100 L.Ed. 746, rehearing denied, 350 U.S. 905, 76 S.Ct. 177, 100 L.Ed. 795. Silence in the bargaining agreement on such an issue does not meet this test. This Court said in N.L.R.B. v. J. H. Allison & Co., supra, 165 F.2d 766, 768, 3 A.L.R.2d 990, C.A.6th, cert denied, 335 U.S. 814, 69 S.Ct. 31, 93 L.Ed. 369, 'Nor do we see logical justification in the view that an entering into a collective bargaining agreement for a new year, even though the contract was silent upon a controverted matter, the union should be held to have waived any rights secured under the Act, including its right to have a say-so as to so-called merit increases.' We are of the opinion that the execution of the 1960 bargaining agreement, which was silent on this controversial question did not constitute a relinquishment of the Union's statutory right to the wage information which it now seeks. N.L.R.B. v. Hekman Furniture Co., supra, 207 F.2d 561, C.A.6th; N.L.R.B. v. Otis Elevator Co., supra, 208 F.2d 176, 179, C.A.2nd; N.L.R.B. v. Yawman & Erbe Mfg. Co., supra, 187 F.2d 917, 949, C.A.2nd.

19 The Company further contends that although the Union may have the right to certain relevant and material wage information, it does not have an unlimited right to information generally from the Company's books, and in the event the Company refuses to honor the Union's demand, the enforcement of the claimed right must be through the grievance procedure provided by the bargaining agreement, which terminates with arbitration. In other words, it is for the arbitrator to decide whether the Company's refusal to furnish the information is justified under the particular circumstances involved, and that neither the Board nor the Court has the authority to decide this issue. It is argued that the demand by the Union, the refusal of the Company to comply with the demand, and the Union's attempt to enforce its claimed right is a 'complaint,' which under the provisions of the bargaining agreement must be channeled through Article IX of the bargaining agreement, which provides the procedure for the adjustment of 'complaints or grievances.' United Steelworkers of America v. American Manufacturing Co., 363 U.S. 564,80 S.Ct. 1343, 4 L.Ed.2d 1403; United Steelworkers of America v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp., 363 U.S. 593, 80 S.Ct. 1358, 4 L.Ed.2d 1424; United Steelworkers of America v. Warrier & Gulf Navigation Co., 363 U.S. 574, 80 S.Ct. 1347, 4 L.Ed.2d 1409, frequently referred to as the trilogy of cases. In this connection it is pointed out that although the Company contends the Union is not entitled to the information, it is willing to submit the matter to arbitration under Section IX of the bargaining agreement and to comply with the arbitrator's ruling. It takes the position that it is an intrinsic contradiction for the Court to say that although the employer is required by his contract to arbitrate complaints and grievances, his 'willingness to abide by, and faithfully carry out, the terms of his contract becomes itself a failure to bargain.' Sinclair Refining Co. v. N.L.R.B.,306 F.2d 569, 575, C.A.5th. As the Court said in N.L.R.B. v. Nash-Finch Co., supra, 211 F.2d 622, 627, C.A.8th, 'The respondent, we think, may not be convicted of an unfair labor practice for doing no more and no less for its union employees than its collective bargaining agreement with them called for.' 20 The soundness of this reasoning, of course, depends upon whether the demand by the Union and the Company's refusal to honor it constitutes a complaint or grievance within the provisions of Section IX of the bargaining agreement. If it is not within the provisions of Section IX, arbitration of the issue is not required and the Company's insistence upon arbitration is unjustified. Atkinson v. Sinclair Refining Co., 370 U.S. 238, 241-243, 82 S.Ct. 1318, 8 L.Ed.2d 462. 21 Article IX of the bargaining agreement deals with 'Adjustment of Grievances.' Paragraph E thereof states: 22 'The parties agree that the provisions of this Article IX provide adequate means, if followed, for the adjustment and disposition, of any complaints or grievances.' It then provides: 23

'Any employee wh has a complaint concerning wages, hours and working conditions that directly affect him at the time of such complaint, may discuss the alleged complaint with his immediate supervisor in an attempt to adjust it and if such complaint is not adjusted to his satisfaction shall be entitled to file and process a grievance as provided in this Artaicle, 'Adjustment of Grievances'.' 24 The grievance procedure consists of three successive steps, followed by a fourth step consisting of arbitration if the grievance is not adjusted in the prior proceedings. Each of these steps refers to a 'grievance' of an 'employee.' It is provided in Step 3 of the Agreement, 'Only grievances involving the interpretation or application of this agreement or disciplinary action are eligible for appeal to arbitration. * * *' 25 The Company's contention that the request of the Union for wage information and the refusal of the Company to supply it is the absence of an order to do so constitutes a complaint or a grievance which is subject to arbitration under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement is, in our opinion, unsound for the following reasons. 26 First, Article IX provides that only grievances involing the interpreation or application of the agreement (or disciplinary action, which is not applicable here) is eligible for appeal to arbitration. As hereinabove pointed out, the right of the Union to wage information was not acquired through the bargaining agreement. Whether the demand of the Union should be honored, accordingly, does not involve the interpretation or application of the agreement, which is necessary in order to be eligible for arbitration, but, on the contrary, involves the interpretation and application of the National Labor Relations Act. 27 Secondly, Step 1 of the grievance procedure provided by Section IX is expressly limited to 'An employee who has not been able to adjust his grievance with his immediate supervisor.' Thereafter, Steps 2, 3 and 4 (arbitration) deal with this same employee grievance. We do not construe the claim of the Union in the present case as being such an employee grievance. Local Union No. 998, Intern. Union, United Auto, Aircraft and Agr. Implement Workers of America, A.F.L.-C.I.O. v. B. & T. Metals Co., 315 F.2d 432, 437, C.A.6th. It was not limited to the settlement of pending grievances. It was also for the purpose of enabling it to 'intelligently evaluate the various rates of pay in the plants' and 'to properly administer the contract.' Without this information it would be difficult, if not impossible, as a practical matter to evaluate a new rate, to check on the fairness of the Company's determination, and to determine whether an employee had a valid grievance which should be asserted. With such information the Union is in a better position to advise an employee about his rights, to reject those employee claims which are not supported by the facts, and to protect the rights of employees generally in properly administering the contract. Sinclair Refining Co. v. N.L.R.B., supra, 306 F.2d 569, 571, C.A.5th. As stated in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45, 78 S.Ct. 99, 101-102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80, the bargaining representative's duty does not come to an abrupt end with the making of an agreement between the union and the employer, but collective bargaining is a continuous process involving both

matters not covered by the existing agreement and the protection of employee rights already secured by contract. 28 The Company, in support of its contention, relies strongly upon Timken Roller Bearing Co. v. N.L.R.B., 161 F.2d 949, C.A.6th, and Sinclair Refining Co. v. N.L.R.B., supra, 306 F.2d 569, C.A.5th. 29 In the Timken Roller Bearing Co. case it was held that the company had not refused to bargain in insisting that the dispute over its right to subcontract, which it claimed was a function of management over which the union had no jurisdiction, be handled through the grievance procedure provided by the contract. This ruling was based upon the fact that the bargaining agreement contained a provision that should 'differences arise between the Company and the Union as to the meaning and application of the provisions of this agreement' such 'differences' should be settled within the grievance procedure. It was held in that case that the dispute over the company's right to subcontract was such a 'difference' and that the company, accordingly, had the right to insist on that procedure being followed. In the present case, although the dispute between the Company and the Union over the right to wage information and data is a 'difference,' it is not a difference or a grievance 'involving the interpretation and application of the provisions of' the bargaining agreement, and, accordingly, the Company did not have the right to insist on use of the grievance procedure. We find no conflict between the cases. 30 In the Sinclair Refining Co. case the employer demoted two employees 'because of lack of work,' which, under the bargaining agreement, was not subject to arbitration. The union filed a grievance which claimed that the alleged 'lack of work' was the result of contracturally wrongful assignment or allocation of work. The employer conceded that since a dispute existed between it and the union, it was subject to arbitration under the provisions of the bargaining agreement, but insisted that on the merits the union had no right to challenge or question its action in any way. While the grievance was in the first two steps the union demanded certain wage information and data. The employer refused to furnish this data on the ground that since the demotion was exclusively a management function not subject to challenge by the union, the data sought, even if otherwise relevant, was wholly immaterial. This resulted in the institution of an unfair labor practice proceeding. The Labor Board ruled that the employer had failed to bargain in good faith in refusing to furnish the information demanded. However, the Court of Appeals denied enforcement of its cease-and-desist order. The Court held that the Board proceeding could not be used to secure data for use in a grievance proceeding where determination of relevance and pertinency required determination of the critical substantive issue of the grievance itself, which issue was under the bargaining agreement for the arbitrator not the Board or the Court. This is but another example of the now established law that where a dispute or 'difference' is subject to grievance procedure and arbitration by reason of the provisions of the bargaining agreement, that procedure is exclusive and will be enforced. In the present case, as we have pointed out, the dispute or 'difference' is not subject to the grievance procedure and arbitration provided by the bargaining agreement. This distinction was recognized and applied by the same court and the same opinion writer in Local Union No. 787, Intern. Union of Elec. Radio and Mach. Workers A.F.L.-C.I.O. v. Collins Radio Co., 317 F.2d 214, 219-220, C.A.5th. The opinion in the Collins Radio Co. case also answers

the company's contention that the Supreme Court's recent trilogy opinions, hereinabove referred to, require a different ruling from what we have reached. 31 It is for the Court, not the arbitrator, to decide whether a claim is an arbitrable one under the bargaining agreement. Atkinson v. Sinclair Refining Co., supra, 370 U.S. 238, 241, 82 S.Ct. 1318, 8 L.Ed.2d 462; Local Union No. 998, Intern. Union, United Auto, Aircraft and Agr. Implement Workers of American, A.F.L.-C.I.O. v. B. & T. Metals Co., supra, 315 F.2d 432, 436, C.A.6th. We are of the opinion that the claim of the Union for wage information and data was not an arbitrable one and that the Company was not justified in refusing to give the Union wage information on that ground. 32 We are also of the opinion that the good faith belief of the Company that it was not required to bargain with the Union is no defense to a refusal to bargain. N.L.R.B. v. Wooster Div. of Borg-Warner Corp., 356 U.S. 342, 349, 78 S.Ct. 718, 2 L.Ed.2d 823; International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, A.F.L.-C.I.O. v. N.L.R.B., 366 U.S. 731, 739, 81 S.Ct. 1603, 6 L.Ed.2d 762; Old King Cole, Inc. v. N.L.R.B., 260 F.2d 530, 532, C.A.6th. 33 The petition to set aside the order of the Board is denied and enforcement of said order is decreed.

G.R. No. 96490 February 3, 1992 INDOPHIL TEXTILE MILL WORKERS UNION-PTGWO, petitioner, vs. VOLUNTARY ARBITRATOR TEODORICO P. CALICA and INDOPHIL TEXTILE MILLS, INC., respondents. Romeo C. Lagman for petitioner. Borreta, Gutierrez & Leogardo for respondent Indophil Textile Mills, Inc.

MEDIALDEA, J.: This is a petition for certiorari seeking the nullification of the award issued by the respondent Voluntary Arbitrator Teodorico P. Calica dated December 8, 1990 finding that Section 1 (c), Article I of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Indophil Textile Mills, Inc. and Indophil Textile Mill Workers Union-PTGWO does not extend to the employees of Indophil Acrylic Manufacturing Corporation as an extension or expansion of Indophil Textile Mills, Incorporated. The antecedent facts are as follows: Petitioner Indophil Textile Mill Workers Union-PTGWO is a legitimate labor organization duly registered with the Department of Labor and Employment and the exclusive bargaining agent of all the rank-and-file employees of Indophil Textile Mills, Incorporated. Respondent Teodorico P. Calica is impleaded in his official capacity as the Voluntary Arbitrator of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board of the Department of Labor and Employment, while private respondent Indophil Textile Mills, Inc. is a corporation engaged in the manufacture, sale and export of yarns of various

counts and kinds and of materials of kindred character and has its plants at Barrio Lambakin. Marilao, Bulacan. In April, 1987, petitioner Indophil Textile Mill Workers Union-PTGWO and private respondent Indophil Textile Mills, Inc. executed a collective bargaining agreement effective from April 1, 1987 to March 31, 1990. On November 3, 1967 Indophil Acrylic Manufacturing Corporation was formed and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Subsequently, Acrylic applied for registration with the Board of Investments for incentives under the 1987 Omnibus Investments Code. The application was approved on a preferred non-pioneer status. In 1988, Acrylic became operational and hired workers according to its own criteria and standards. Sometime in July, 1989, the workers of Acrylic unionized and a duly certified collective bargaining agreement was executed. In 1990 or a year after the workers of Acrylic have been unionized and a CBA executed, the petitioner union claimed that the plant facilities built and set up by Acrylic should be considered as an extension or expansion of the facilities of private respondent Company pursuant to Section 1(c), Article I of the CBA, to wit,. c) This Agreement shall apply to the Company's plant facilities and installations and to any extension and expansion thereat. (Rollo, p.4) In other words, it is the petitioner's contention that Acrylic is part of the Indophil bargaining unit. The petitioner's contention was opposed by private respondent which submits that it is a juridical entity separate and distinct from Acrylic. The existing impasse led the petitioner and private respondent to enter into a submission agreement on September 6, 1990. The parties jointly requested the public respondent to act as voluntary arbitrator in the resolution of the pending labor dispute pertaining to the proper interpretation of the CBA provision. After the parties submitted their respective position papers and replies, the public respondent Voluntary Arbitrator rendered its award on December 8, 1990, the dispositive portion of which provides as follows: PREMISES CONSIDERED, it would be a strained interpretation and application of the questioned CBA provision if we would extend to the employees of Acrylic the coverage clause of Indophil Textile Mills CBA. Wherefore, an award is made to the effect that the proper interpretation and application of Sec. l, (c), Art. I, of the 1987 CBA do (sic) not extend to the employees of Acrylic as an extension or expansion of Indophil Textile Mills, Inc. (Rollo, p.21) Hence, this petition raising four (4) issues, to wit: 1. WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT ARBITRATOR ERRED IN INTERPRETING SECTION 1(c), ART I OF THE CBA BETWEEN PETITIONER UNION AND RESPONDENT COMPANY.

2. WHETHER OR NOT INDOPHIL ACRYLIC IS A SEPARATE AND DISTINCT ENTITY FROM RESPONDENT COMPANY FOR PURPOSES OF UNION REPRESENTATION. 3. WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT ARBITRATOR GRAVELY ABUSED HIS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR IN EXCESS OF HIS JURISDICTION. 4. WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENT ARBITRATOR VIOLATED PETITIONER UNION'S CARDINAL PRIMARY RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS. (Rollo, pp. 6-7) The central issue submitted for arbitration is whether or not the operations in Indophil Acrylic Corporation are an extension or expansion of private respondent Company. Corollary to the aforementioned issue is the question of whether or not the rank-and-file employees working at Indophil Acrylic should be recognized as part of, and/or within the scope of the bargaining unit. Petitioner maintains that public respondent Arbitrator gravely erred in interpreting Section l(c), Article I of the CBA in its literal meaning without taking cognizance of the facts adduced that the creation of the aforesaid Indophil Acrylic is but a devise of respondent Company to evade the application of the CBA between petitioner Union and respondent Company. Petitioner stresses that the articles of incorporation of the two corporations establish that the two entities are engaged in the same kind of business, which is the manufacture and sale of yarns of various counts and kinds and of other materials of kindred character or nature. Contrary to petitioner's assertion, the public respondent through the Solicitor General argues that the Indophil Acrylic Manufacturing Corporation is not an alter ego or an adjunct or business conduit of private respondent because it has a separate legitimate business purpose. In addition, the Solicitor General alleges that the primary purpose of private respondent is to engage in the business of manufacturing yarns of various counts and kinds and textiles. On the other hand, the primary purpose of Indophil Acrylic is to manufacture, buy, sell at wholesale basis, barter, import, export and otherwise deal in yarns of various counts and kinds. Hence, unlike private respondent, Indophil Acrylic cannot manufacture textiles while private respondent cannot buy or import yarns. Furthermore, petitioner emphasizes that the two corporations have practically the same incorporators, directors and officers. In fact, of the total stock subscription of Indophil Acrylic, P1,749,970.00 which represents seventy percent (70%) of the total subscription of P2,500,000.00 was subscribed to by respondent Company. On this point, private respondent cited the case of Diatagon Labor Federation v. Ople, G.R. No. L44493-94, December 3, 1980, 10l SCRA 534, which ruled that two corporations cannot be treated as a single bargaining unit even if their businesses are related. It submits that the fact that there are as many bargaining units as there are companies in a conglomeration of companies is a positive proof that a corporation is endowed with a legal personality distinctly its own, independent and separate from other corporations (see Rollo, pp. 160-161). Petitioner notes that the foregoing evidence sufficiently establish that Acrylic is but an extension or expansion of private respondent, to wit:

(a) the two corporations have their physical plants, offices and facilities situated in the same compound, at Barrio Lambakin, Marilao, Bulacan; (b) many of private respondent's own machineries, such as dyeing machines, reeling, boiler, Kamitsus among others, were transferred to and are now installed and being used in the Acrylic plant; (c) the services of a number of units, departments or sections of private respondent are provided to Acrylic; and (d) the employees of private respondent are the same persons manning and servicing the units of Acrylic. (see Rollo, pp. 12-13) Private respondent insists that the existence of a bonafide business relationship between Acrylic and private respondent is not a proof of being a single corporate entity because the services which are supposedly provided by it to Acrylic are auxiliary services or activities which are not really essential in the actual production of Acrylic. It also pointed out that the essential services are discharged exclusively by Acrylic personnel under the control and supervision of Acrylic managers and supervisors. In sum, petitioner insists that the public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in erroneously interpreting the CBA provision and in failing to disregard the corporate entity of Acrylic. We find the petition devoid of merit. Time and again, We stress that the decisions of voluntary arbitrators are to be given the highest respect and a certain measure of finality, but this is not a hard and fast rule, it does not preclude judicial review thereof where want of jurisdiction, grave abuse of discretion, violation of due process, denial of substantial justice, or erroneous interpretation of the law were brought to our attention. (see Ocampo, et al. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 81677, 25 July 1990, First Division Minute Resolution citing Oceanic Bic Division (FFW) v. Romero, G.R. No. L-43890, July 16, 1984, 130 SCRA 392) It should be emphasized that in rendering the subject arbitral award, the voluntary arbitrator Teodorico Calica, a professor of the U.P. Asian Labor Education Center, now the Institute for Industrial Relations, found that the existing law and jurisprudence on the matter, supported the private respondent's contentions. Contrary to petitioner's assertion, public respondent cited facts and the law upon which he based the award. Hence, public respondent did not abuse his discretion. Under the doctrine of piercing the veil of corporate entity, when valid grounds therefore exist, the legal fiction that a corporation is an entity with a juridical personality separate and distinct from its members or stockholders may be disregarded. In such cases, the corporation will be considered as a mere association of persons. The members or stockholders of the corporation will be considered as the corporation, that is liability will attach directly to the officers and stockholders. The doctrine applies when the corporate fiction is used to defeat public convenience, justify wrong, protect fraud, or defend crime, or when it is made as a shield to confuse the legitimate issues, or where a corporation is the mere alter ego or business conduit of a person, or where the corporation is so organized and controlled and its affairs are so conducted as to make it merely an instrumentality, agency, conduit or adjunct of another corporation. (Umali et al. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 89561, September 13, 1990, 189 SCRA 529, 542)

In the case at bar, petitioner seeks to pierce the veil of corporate entity of Acrylic, alleging that the creation of the corporation is a devise to evade the application of the CBA between petitioner Union and private respondent Company. While we do not discount the possibility of the similarities of the businesses of private respondent and Acrylic, neither are we inclined to apply the doctrine invoked by petitioner in granting the relief sought. The fact that the businesses of private respondent and Acrylic are related, that some of the employees of the private respondent are the same persons manning and providing for auxilliary services to the units of Acrylic, and that the physical plants, offices and facilities are situated in the same compound, it is our considered opinion that these facts are not sufficient to justify the piercing of the corporate veil of Acrylic. In the same case of Umali, et al. v. Court of Appeals (supra), We already emphasized that "the legal corporate entity is disregarded only if it is sought to hold the officers and stockholders directly liable for a corporate debt or obligation." In the instant case, petitioner does not seek to impose a claim against the members of the Acrylic. Furthermore, We already ruled in the case of Diatagon Labor Federation Local 110 of the ULGWP v. Ople (supra) that it is grave abuse of discretion to treat two companies as a single bargaining unit when these companies are indubitably distinct entities with separate juridical personalities. Hence, the Acrylic not being an extension or expansion of private respondent, the rank-and-file employees working at Acrylic should not be recognized as part of, and/or within the scope of the petitioner, as the bargaining representative of private respondent. All premises considered, the Court is convinced that the public respondent Voluntary Arbitrator did not commit grave abuse of discretion in its interpretation of Section l(c), Article I of the CBA that the Acrylic is not an extension or expansion of private respondent. ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DENIED and the award of the respondent Voluntary Arbitrator are hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. 2. G.R. No. 85985 August 13, 1993 PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC. (PAL), petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, LABOR ARBITER ISABEL P. ORTIGUERRA and PHILIPPINE AIRLINES EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (PALEA), respondents. Solon Garcia for petitioner. Adolpho M. Guerzon for respondent PALEA.

MELO, J.: In the instant petition for certiorari, the Court is presented the issue of whether or not the formulation of a Code of Discipline among employees is a shared responsibility of the employer and the employees.

On March 15, 1985, the Philippine Airlines, Inc. (PAL) completely revised its 1966 Code of Discipline. The Code was circulated among the employees and was immediately implemented, and some employees were forthwith subjected to the disciplinary measures embodied therein. Thus, on August 20, 1985, the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) filed a complaint before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for unfair labor practice (Case No. NCR-72051-85) with the following remarks: "ULP with arbitrary implementation of PAL's Code of Discipline without notice and prior discussion with Union by Management" (Rollo, p. 41). In its position paper, PALEA contended that PAL, by its unilateral implementation of the Code, was guilty of unfair labor practice, specifically Paragraphs E and G of Article 249 and Article 253 of the Labor Code. PALEA alleged that copies of the Code had been circulated in limited numbers; that being penal in nature the Code must conform with the requirements of sufficient publication, and that the Code was arbitrary, oppressive, and prejudicial to the rights of the employees. It prayed that implementation of the Code be held in abeyance; that PAL should discuss the substance of the Code with PALEA; that employees dismissed under the Code be reinstated and their cases subjected to further hearing; and that PAL be declared guilty of unfair labor practice and be ordered to pay damages (pp. 7-14, Record.) PAL filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, asserting its prerogative as an employer to prescibe rules and regulations regarding employess' conduct in carrying out their duties and functions, and alleging that by implementing the Code, it had not violated the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or any provision of the Labor Code. Assailing the complaint as unsupported by evidence, PAL maintained that Article 253 of the Labor Code cited by PALEA reffered to the requirements for negotiating a CBA which was inapplicable as indeed the current CBA had been negotiated. In its reply to PAL's position paper, PALEA maintained that Article 249 (E) of the Labor Code was violated when PAL unilaterally implemented the Code, and cited provisions of Articles IV and I of Chapter II of the Code as defective for, respectively, running counter to the construction of penal laws and making punishable any offense within PAL's contemplation. These provisions are the following: Sec. 2. Non-exclusivity. This Code does not contain the entirety of the rules and regulations of the company. Every employee is bound to comply with all applicable rules, regulations, policies, procedures and standards, including standards of quality, productivity and behaviour, as issued and promulgated by the company through its duly authorized officials. Any violations thereof shall be punishable with a penalty to be determined by the gravity and/or frequency of the offense. Sec. 7. Cumulative Record. An employee's record of offenses shall be cumulative. The penalty for an offense shall be determined on the basis of his past record of offenses of any nature or the absence thereof. The more habitual an offender has been, the greater shall be the penalty for the latest offense. Thus, an employee may be dismissed if the number of his past offenses warrants such penalty in the judgment of management even if each offense considered separately may not warrant dismissal. Habitual offenders or recidivists have no place in PAL. On the other hand, due regard shall be given to the length of time between commission of individual offenses to determine whether the employee's conduct may indicate occasional lapses (which may nevertheless require sterner disciplinary action) or a pattern of incorrigibility. Labor Arbiter Isabel P. Ortiguerra handling the case called the parties to a conference but they failed to appear at the scheduled date. Interpreting such failure as a waiver of the parties' right to present

evidence, the labor arbiter considered the case submitted for decision. On November 7, 1986, a decision was rendered finding no bad faith on the part of PAL in adopting the Code and ruling that no unfair labor practice had been committed. However, the arbiter held that PAL was "not totally fault free" considering that while the issuance of rules and regulations governing the conduct of employees is a "legitimate management prerogative" such rules and regulations must meet the test of "reasonableness, propriety and fairness." She found Section 1 of the Code aforequoted as "an all embracing and all encompassing provision that makes punishable any offense one can think of in the company"; while Section 7, likewise quoted above, is "objectionable for it violates the rule against double jeopardy thereby ushering in two or more punishment for the same misdemeanor." (pp. 3839, Rollo.) The labor arbiter also found that PAL "failed to prove that the new Code was amply circulated." Noting that PAL's assertion that it had furnished all its employees copies of the Code is unsupported by documentary evidence, she stated that such "failure" on the part of PAL resulted in the imposition of penalties on employees who thought all the while that the 1966 Code was still being followed. Thus, the arbiter concluded that "(t)he phrase ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance . . . finds application only after it has been conclusively shown that the law was circulated to all the parties concerned and efforts to disseminate information regarding the new law have been exerted. (p. 39, Rollo.) She thereupon disposed: WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent PAL is hereby ordered as follows: 1. Furnish all employees with the new Code of Discipline; 2. Reconsider the cases of employees meted with penalties under the New Code of Discipline and remand the same for further hearing; and 3. Discuss with PALEA the objectionable provisions specifically tackled in the body of the decision. All other claims of the complainant union (is) [are] hereby, dismissed for lack of merit. SO ORDERED. (p. 40, Rollo.) PAL appealed to the NLRC. On August 19, 1988, the NLRC through Commissioner Encarnacion, with Presiding Commissioner Bonto-Perez and Commissioner Maglaya concurring, found no evidence of unfair labor practice committed by PAL and affirmed the dismissal of PALEA's charge. Nonetheless, the NLRC made the following observations: Indeed, failure of management to discuss the provisions of a contemplated code of discipline which shall govern the conduct of its employees would result in the erosion and deterioration of an otherwise harmonious and smooth relationship between them as did happen in the instant case. There is no dispute that adoption of rules of conduct or discipline is a prerogative of management and is imperative and essential if an industry, has to survive in a competitive world. But labor climate has progressed, too. In the Philippine scene, at no time in our contemporary history is the need for a cooperative, supportive and smooth relationship between labor and management more keenly felt if we are to survive economically. Management can no longer exclude labor in the deliberation and adoption of rules and regulations that will affect them.

The complainant union in this case has the right to feel isolated in the adoption of the New Code of Discipline. The Code of Discipline involves security of tenure and loss of employment a property right! It is time that management realizes that to attain effectiveness in its conduct rules, there should be candidness and openness by Management and participation by the union, representing its members. In fact, our Constitution has recognized the principle of "shared responsibility" between employers and workers and has likewise recognized the right of workers to participate in "policy and decision-making process affecting their rights . . ." The latter provision was interpreted by the Constitutional Commissioners to mean participation in "management"' (Record of the Constitutional Commission, Vol. II). In a sense, participation by the union in the adoption of the code if conduct could have accelerated and enhanced their feelings of belonging and would have resulted in cooperation rather than resistance to the Code. In fact, labor-management cooperation is now "the thing." (pp. 3-4, NLRC Decision ff. p. 149, Original Record.) Respondent Commission thereupon disposed: WHEREFORE, premises considered, we modify the appealed decision in the sense that the New Code of Discipline should be reviewed and discussed with complainant union, particularly the disputed provisions [.] (T)hereafter, respondent is directed to furnish each employee with a copy of the appealed Code of Discipline. The pending cases adverted to in the appealed decision if still in the arbitral level, should be reconsidered by the respondent Philippine Air Lines. Other dispositions of the Labor Arbiter are sustained. SO ORDERED. (p. 5, NLRC Decision.) PAL then filed the instant petition for certiorari charging public respondents with grave abuse of discretion in: (a) directing PAL "to share its management prerogative of formulating a Code of Discipline"; (b) engaging in quasi-judicial legislation in ordering PAL to share said prerogative with the union; (c) deciding beyond the issue of unfair labor practice, and (d) requiring PAL to reconsider pending cases still in the arbitral level (p. 7, Petition; p. 8,Rollo.) As stated above, the Principal issue submitted for resolution in the instant petition is whether management may be compelled to share with the union or its employees its prerogative of formulating a code of discipline. PAL asserts that when it revised its Code on March 15, 1985, there was no law which mandated the sharing of responsibility therefor between employer and employee. Indeed, it was only on March 2, 1989, with the approval of Republic Act No. 6715, amending Article 211 of the Labor Code, that the law explicitly considered it a State policy "(t)o ensure the participation of workers in decision and policy-making processes affecting the rights, duties and welfare." However, even in the absence of said clear provision of law, the exercise of management prerogatives was never considered boundless. Thus, in Cruz vs. Medina (177 SCRA 565 [1989]) it was held that management's prerogatives must be without abuse of discretion. In San Miguel Brewery Sales Force Union (PTGWO) vs. Ople (170 SCRA 25 [1989]), we upheld the company's right to implement a new system of distributing its products, but gave the following caveat:

So long as a company's management prerogatives are exercised in good faith for the advancement of the employer's interest and not for the purpose of defeating or circumventing the rights of the employees under special laws or under valid agreements, this Court will uphold them. (at p. 28.) All this points to the conclusion that the exercise of managerial prerogatives is not unlimited. It is circumscribed by limitations found in law, a collective bargaining agreement, or the general principles of fair play and justice (University of Sto. Tomas vs. NLRC, 190 SCRA 758 [1990]). Moreover, as enunciated in Abbott Laboratories (Phil.), vs. NLRC (154 713 [1987]), it must be duly established that the prerogative being invoked is clearly a managerial one. A close scrutiny of the objectionable provisions of the Code reveals that they are not purely business-oriented nor do they concern the management aspect of the business of the company as in the San Miguel case. The provisions of the Code clearly have repercusions on the employee's right to security of tenure. The implementation of the provisions may result in the deprivation of an employee's means of livelihood which, as correctly pointed out by the NLRC, is a property right (Callanta, vs Carnation Philippines, Inc., 145 SCRA 268 [1986]). In view of these aspects of the case which border on infringement of constitutional rights, we must uphold the constitutional requirements for the protection of labor and the promotion of social justice, for these factors, according to Justice Isagani Cruz, tilt "the scales of justice when there is doubt, in favor of the worker" (Employees Association of the Philippine American Life Insurance Company vs. NLRC, 199 SCRA 628 [1991] 635). Verily, a line must be drawn between management prerogatives regarding business operations per se and those which affect the rights of the employees. In treating the latter, management should see to it that its employees are at least properly informed of its decisions or modes action. PAL asserts that all its employees have been furnished copies of the Code. Public respondents found to the contrary, which finding, to say the least is entitled to great respect. PAL posits the view that by signing the 1989-1991 collective bargaining agreement, on June 27, 1990, PALEA in effect, recognized PAL's "exclusive right to make and enforce company rules and regulations to carry out the functions of management without having to discuss the same with PALEA and much less, obtain the latter'sconformity thereto" (pp. 11-12, Petitioner's Memorandum; pp 180-181, Rollo.) Petitioner's view is based on the following provision of the agreement: The Association recognizes the right of the Company to determine matters of management it policy and Company operations and to direct its manpower. Management of the Company includes the right to organize, plan, direct and control operations, to hire, assign employees to work, transfer employees from one department, to another, to promote, demote, discipline, suspend or discharge employees for just cause; to lay-off employees for valid and legal causes, to introduce new or improved methods or facilities or to change existing methods or facilities and the right to make and enforce Company rules and regulations to carry out the functions of management. The exercise by management of its prerogative shall be done in a just reasonable, humane and/or lawful manner. Such provision in the collective bargaining agreement may not be interpreted as cession of employees' rights to participate in the deliberation of matters which may affect their rights and the formulation of policies relative thereto. And one such mater is the formulation of a code of discipline.

Indeed, industrial peace cannot be achieved if the employees are denied their just participation in the discussion of matters affecting their rights. Thus, even before Article 211 of the labor Code (P.D. 442) was amended by Republic Act No. 6715, it was already declared a policy of the State, "(d) To promote the enlightenment of workers concerning their rights and obligations . . . as employees." This was, of course, amplified by Republic Act No 6715 when it decreed the "participation of workers in decision and policy making processes affecting their rights, duties and welfare." PAL's position that it cannot be saddled with the "obligation" of sharing management prerogatives as during the formulation of the Code, Republic Act No. 6715 had not yet been enacted (Petitioner's Memorandum, p. 44; Rollo, p. 212), cannot thus be sustained. While such "obligation" was not yet founded in law when the Code was formulated, the attainment of a harmonious labor-management relationship and the then already existing state policy of enlightening workers concerning their rights as employees demand no less than the observance of transparency in managerial moves affecting employees' rights. Petitioner's assertion that it needed the implementation of a new Code of Discipline considering the nature of its business cannot be overemphasized. In fact, its being a local monopoly in the business demands the most stringent of measures to attain safe travel for its patrons. Nonetheless, whatever disciplinary measures are adopted cannot be properly implemented in the absence of full cooperation of the employees. Such cooperation cannot be attained if the employees are restive on account, of their being left out in the determination of cardinal and fundamental matters affecting their employment. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the questioned decision AFFIRMED. No special pronouncement is made as to costs. SO ORDERED.

[G.R. No. 131235. November 16, 1999]

UST FACULTY UNION (USTFU), GIL Y. GAMILLA, CORAZON QUI, NORMA CALAGUAS, IRMA POTENCIANO, LUZ DE GUZMAN, REMEDIOS GARCIA, RENE ARNEJO, EDITHA OCAMPO, CESAR REYES, CELSO NIERRA, GLICERIA BALDRES, MA. LOURDES MEDINA, HIDELITA GABO, MAFEL YSRAEL, LAURA ABARA, NATIVIDAD SANTOS, FERDINAND LIMOS, CARMELITA ESPINA, ZENAIDA FAMORCA, PHILIP AGUINALDO, BENEDICTA ALAVA and LEONCIO CASAL, petitioners vs. Dir. BENEDICTO ERNESTO R. BITONIO JR. of the Bureau of Labor Relations, Med-Arbiter TOMAS F. FALCONITIN of The National Capital Region, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), EDUARDO J. MARIO JR., MA. MELVYN ALAMIS, NORMA COLLANTES, URBANO ALABAGIA, RONALDO ASUNCION, ZENAIDA BURGOS, ANTHONY CURA, FULVIO M. GUERRERO,

MYRNA HILARIO, TERESITA MEER, FERNANDO PEDROSA, NILDA REDOBLADO, RENE SISON, EVELYN TIROL and ROSIE ALCANTARA, respondents. DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:

There is a right way to do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons,[1] and in the present case, in the right forum by the right parties. While grievances against union leaders constitute legitimate complaints deserving appropriate redress, action thereon should be made in the proper forum at the proper time and after observance of proper procedures. Similarly, the election of union officers should be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the unions constitution and bylaws, as well as the Philippine Constitution and the Labor Code. Specifically, while all legitimate faculty members of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) belonging to a collective bargaining unit may take part in a duly convened certification election, only bona fide members of the UST Faculty Union (USTFU) may participate and vote in a legally called election for union officers. Mob hysteria, however well-intentioned, is not a substitute for the rule of law.
The Case

The Petition for Certiorari before us assails the August 15, 1997 Resolution[2] of Director Benedicto Ernesto R. Bitonio Jr. of the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) in BLR Case No. A-8-49-97, which affirmed the February 11, 1997 Decision of MedArbiter Tomas F. Falconitin. The med-arbiters Decision disposed as follows: WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered declaring the election of USTFU officers conducted on October 4, 1996 and its election results as null and void ab initio. Accordingly, respondents Gil Gamilla, et al are hereby ordered to cease and desist from acting and performing the duties and functions of the legitimate officers of [the] University of Santo Tomas Faculty Union (USTFU) pursuant to [the] unions constitution and by-laws (CBL). The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO ) issued by this Office on December 11, 1996 in connection with the instant petition, is hereby made and declared permanent.[3]

Likewise challenged is the October 30, 1997 Resolution[4]of Director Bitonio, which denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
The Facts

The factual antecedents of the case are summarized in the assailed Resolution as follows: Petitioners-appellees [herein Private Respondents] Marino, et. al. (appellees) are duly elected officers of the UST Faculty Union (USTFU). The union has a subsisting fiveyear Collective Bargaining Agreement with its employer, the University of Santo Tomas (UST). The CBA was registered with the Industrial Relations Division, DOLE-NCR, on 20 February 1995. It is set to expire on 31 May 1998. On 21 September 1996, appellee Collantes, in her capacity as Secretary General of USTFU, posted a notice addressed to all USTFU members announcing a general assembly to be held on 05 October 1996. Among others, the general assembly was called to elect USTFUs next set of officers. Through the notice, the members were also informed of the constitution of a Committee on Elections (COMELEC) to oversee the elections. (Annex B, petition) On 01 October 1996, some of herein appellants filed a separate petition with the Med-Arbiter, DOLE-NCR, directed against herein appellees and the members of the COMELEC. Docketed as Case No. NCR-OD-M-9610-001, the petition alleged that the COMELEC was not constituted in accordance with USTFUs constitution and by laws (CBL) and that no rules had been issued to govern the conduct of the 05 October 1996 election. On 02 October 1996, the secretary general of UST, upon the request of the various UST faculty club presidents (See paragraph VI, Respondents Comment and Motion to Dismiss), issued notices allowing all faculty members to hold a convocation on 04 October 1996 (See Annex C Petition; Annexes 4 to 10, Appeal). Denominated as [a] general faculty assembly, the convocation was supposed to discuss the state of the unratified UST-USTFU CBA and status and election of USTFU officers (Annex 11, Appeal) On 04 October 1996, the med-arbiter in Case No. NCR-OD-M-9610-001 issued a temporary restraining order against herein appellees enjoining them from conducting the election scheduled on 05 October 1996.

Also on 04 October 1996, and as earlier announced by the UST secretary general, th e general faculty assembly was held as scheduled. The general assembly was attended by members of the USTFU and, as admitted by the appellants, also by 'non-USTFU members [who] are members in good standing of the UST Academic Community Collective Bargaining Unit' (See paragraph XI, Respondents Comment and Motion to Dismiss). On this occasion, appellants were elected as USTFUs new set of officers by acclamation and clapping of hands (See paragraphs 40 to 50, Annex '12', Appeal). The election of the appellants came about upon a motion of one Atty. Lopez, admittedly not a member of USTFU, that the USTFU CBL and 'the rules of the election be suspended and that the election be held [on] that day' (See --paragraph 39, Idem.) On 11 October 1996, appellees filed the instant petition seeking injunctive reliefs and the nullification of the results of the 04 October 1996 election. Appellees alleged that the holding of the same violated the temporary restraining order issued in Case No. NCR-OD-M-9610-001. Accusing appellants of usurpation, appellees characterized the election as spurious for being violative of USTFUs CBL, specifically because the general assembly resulting in the election of appellants was not called by the Board of Officers of the USTFU; there was no compliance with the ten-day notice rule required by Section 1, Article VIII of the CBL; the supposed elections were conducted without a COMELEC being constituted by the Board of Officers in accordance with Section 1, Article IX of the CBL; the elections were not by secret balloting as required by Section 1, Article V and Section 6, Article IX of the CBL, and, the general assembly was convened by faculty members some of whom were not members of USTFU, so much so that non-USTFU members were allowed to vote in violation of Section 1, Article V of the CBL. On 24 October 1996, appellees filed another urgent ex-parte motion for a temporary restraining order, this time alleging that appellants had served the former a notice to vacate the union office. For their part, appellants moved to dismiss the original petition and the subsequent motion on jurisdictional grounds. Both the petition and the motion were captioned to be for Prohibition, Injunction with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order. According to the appellants, the med-arbiter has no jurisdiction over petitions for prohibition, 'including the ancillary remedies of restraining order and/or preliminary injunction, which are merely incidental to the main petition for PROHIBITION' (Paragraph XVIII3, Respondents Comment and Motion to Dismiss). Appellants also averred that they now constituted the new set of union officers having been elected in accordance with law after the term of office of appellees had expired. They further maintained that appellees scheduling of the 5 October 1996 elections was illegal because no rules and regulations governing the elections were promulgated as required by USTFUs CBL

and that one of the members of the COMELEC was not a registered member of USTFU. Appellants likewise noted that the elections called by the appellees should have been postponed to allow the promulgation of rules and regulations and to 'insure a free, clean, honest and orderly elections and to afford at the same time the greater majority of the general membership to participate' (See paragraph V, Idem). Finally, appellants contended that the holding of the general faculty assembly on 04 October 1996 was under the control of the Council of College/Faculty Club Presidents in cooperation with the USTFU Reformist Alliance and that they received the Temporary Restraining Order issued in Case No. NCR-OD-M-9610-001 only on 07 October 1996 and were not aware of the same on 04 October 1996. On 03 December 1996, appellants and UST allegedly entered into another CBA covering the period from 01 June 1996 to 31 May 2001 (Annex 11, appellants Rejoinder to the Reply and Opposition). Consequently, appellees again moved for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to prevent appellants from making further representations that [they] had entered into a new agreement with UST. Appellees also reiterated their earlier stand that appellants were usurping the formers duties and functions and should be stopped from continuing such acts. On 11 December 1996, over appellants insistence that the issue of jurisdiction should first be resolved, the med-arbiter issued a temporary restraining order directing the respondents to cease and desist from performing any and all acts pertaining to the duties and functions of the officers and directors of USTFU. In the meantime, appellants claimed that the new CBA was purportedly ratified by an overwhelming majority of USTs academic community on 12 December 1996 (Annexes 1 to 10, Idem). For this reason, appellants moved for the dismissal of what it denominated as appellees petition for prohibition on the ground that this had become moot and academic.[5] Petitioners appealed the med-arbiters Decision to the labor secretary,[6] who transmitted the records of the case to the Bureau of Labor Relations which, under Department Order No. 9, was authorized to resolve appeals of intra-union cases, consistent with the last paragraph of Article 241 of the Labor Code.[7]
The Assailed Ruling

Agreeing with the med-arbiter that the USTFU officers purported election held on October 4, 1994 was void for having been conducted in violation of the unions Constitution and Bylaws (CBL), Public Respondent Bitonio rejected petitioners contention that it was a legitimate exercise of their right to self-organization. He ruled that the CBL, which constituted the covenant between the union and its members, could not be suspended during the October 4, 1996 general assembly of all faculty members, since that assembly had not been convened or authorized by the USTFU. Director Bitonio likewise held that the October 4, 1996 election could not be legitimized by the recognition of the newly elected set of officers by UST or by the alleged ratification of the new CBA by the general membership of the USTFU. Ruled Respondent Bitonio: "This submission is flawed. The issue at hand is not collective bargaining representation but union leadership, a matter that should concern only the members of USTFU. As pointed out by the appellees, the privilege of determining who the union officers will be belongs exclusively to the members of the union. Said privilege is exercised in an election proceeding in accordance with the union's CBL and applicable law. To accept appellants' claim to legitimacy on the foregoing grounds is to invest in appellants the position, duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of USTFU officers without the benefit of a lawful electoral exercise as defined in USTFU's CBL and Article 241(c) of the Labor Code. Not to mention the fact that labor laws prohibit the employer from interfering with the employees in the latter' exercise of their right to self-organization. To allow appellants to become USTFU officers on the strength of management's recognition of them is to concede to the employer the power of determining who should be USTFU's leaders. This is a clear case of interference in the exercise by USTFU members of their right to self-organization.[8] Hence, this Petition.[9]
The Issues

The main issue in this case is whether the public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing to recognize the officers elected during the October 4, 1996 general assembly. Specifically, petitioners in their Memorandum urge the Court to resolve the following questions:[10] (1) Whether the Collective Bargaining Unit of all the faculty members in that General Faculty Assembly had the right in that General Faculty Assembly to suspend

the provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws of the USTFU regarding the elections of officers of the union[.] (2) Whether the suspension of the provisions of the Constitution and By-Laws of the USTFU in that General Faculty Assembly is valid pursuant to the constitutional right of the Collective Bargaining Unit to engage in peaceful concerted activities for the purpose of ousting the corrupt regime of the private respondents[.] (3) Whether the overwhelming ratification of the Collective Bargaining Agreement executed by the petitioners in behalf of the USTFU with the University of Santo Tomas has rendered moot and academic the issue as to the validity of the suspension of the Constitution and By-Laws and the elections of October 4, 1996 in the General Faculty Assembly[.]
The Courts Ruling

The petition is not meritorious. Petitioners fail to convince this Court that Director Bitonio gravely abused his discretion in affirming the med-arbiter and in refusing to recognize the binding effect of the October 4, 1996 general assembly called by the UST administration.
First Issue: Right to Self-Organization and Union Membership

At the outset, the Court stresses that National Federation of Labor (NFL) v. Laguesma[11] has held that challenges against rulings of the labor secretary and those acting on his behalf, like the director of labor relations, shall be acted upon by the Court of Appeals, which has concurrent jurisdiction with this Court over petitions for certiorari. However, inasmuch as the memoranda in the instant case have been filed prior to the promulgation and finality of our Decision in NFL, we deem it proper to resolve the present controversy directly, instead of remanding it to the Court of Appeals. Having disposed of the foregoing procedural matter, we now tackle the issues in the present case seriatim. Self-organization is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and the Labor Code. Employees have the right to form, join or assist labor organizations for the purpose of collective bargaining or for their mutual aid and protection.[12] Whether employed for a definite period or not, any employee shall be considered as such, beginning on his first day of service, for purposes of membership in a labor union.[13]

Corollary to this right is the prerogative not to join, affiliate with or assist a labor union.[14] Therefore, to become a union member, an employee must, as a rule, not only signify the intent to become one, but also take some positive steps to realize that intent. The procedure for union membership is usually embodied in the unions constitution and bylaws.[15] An employee who becomes a union member acquires the rights and the concomitant obligations that go with this new status and becomes bound by the unions rules and regulations. When a man joins a labor union (or almost any other democratically controlled group), necessarily a portion of his individual freedom is surrendered for the benefit of all members. He accepts the will of the majority of the members in order that he may derive the advantages to be gained from the concerted action of all. Just as the enactments of the legislature bind all of us, to the constitution and by-laws of the union (unless contrary to good morals or public policy, or otherwise illegal), which are duly enacted through democratic processes, bind all of the members. If a member of a union dislikes the provisions of the by-laws, he may seek to have them amended or may withdraw from the union; otherwise, he must abide by them. It is not the function of courts to decide the wisdom or propriety of legitimate by-laws of a trade union. On joining a labor union, the constitution and by-laws become a part of the members contract of membership under which he agrees to become bound by the constitution and governing rules of the union so far as it is not inconsistent with controlling principles of law. The constitution and by-laws of an unincorporated trade union express the terms of a contract, which define the privileges and rights secured to, and duties assumed by, those who have become members. The agreement of a member on joining a union to abide by its laws and comply with the will of the lawfully constituted majority does not require a member to submit to the determination of the union any question involving his p ersonal rights.[16] Petitioners claim that the numerous anomalies allegedly committed by the private respondents during the latters incumbency impelled the October 4, 1996 election of the new set of USTFU officers. They assert that such exercise was pursuant to their right to self-organization. Petitioners frustration over the performance of private respondents, as well as their fears of a fraudulent election to be held under the latters supervision, could not justify the method they chose to impose their will on the union. Director Bitonio aptly elucidated:[17] The constitutional right to self-organization is better understood in the context of ILO Convention No. 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of Right to

Organize), to which the Philippines is signatory. Article 3 of the Convention provides that workers organizations shall have the right to draw up their constitution and rules and to elect their representatives in full freedom, free from any interference from public authorities. The freedom conferred by the provision is expansive; the responsibility imposed on union members to respect the constitution and rules they themselves draw up equally so. The point to be stressed is that the unions CBL is the fundamental law that governs the relationship between and among the members of the union. It is where the rights, duties and obligations, powers, functions and authority of the officers as well as the members are defined. It is the organic law that determines the validity of acts done by any officer or member of the union. Without respect for the CBL, a union as a democratic institution degenerates into nothing more than a group of individuals governed by mob rule.
Union Election vs. Certification Election

A union election is held pursuant to the unions constitution and bylaws, and the right to vote in it is enjoyed only by union members. A union election should be distinguished from a certification election, which is the process of determining, through secret ballot, the sole and exclusive bargaining agent of the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit, for purposes of collective bargaining.[18] Specifically, the purpose of a certification election is to ascertain whether or not a majority of the employees wish to be represented by a labor organization and, in the affirmative case, by which particular labor organization.[19] In a certification election, all employees belonging to the appropriate bargaining unit can vote.[20] Therefore, a union member who likewise belongs to the appropriate bargaining unit is entitled to vote in said election. However, the reverse is not always true; an employee belonging to the appropriate bargaining unit but who is not a member of the union cannot vote in the union election, unless otherwise authorized by the constitution and bylaws of the union. Verily, union affairs and elections cannot be decided in a non-union activity. In both elections, there are procedures to be followed. Thus, the October 4, 1996 election cannot properly be called a union election, because the procedure laid down in the USTFUs CBL for the election of officers was not followed. It could not have been a certification election either, because representation was not the issue, and the proper procedure for such election was not followed. The participation of non-union members in the election aggravated its irregularity.
Second Issue: USTFUs Constitution and ByLaws Violated

The importance of a unions constitution and bylaws cannot be overemphasized. They embody a covenant between a union and its members and constitute the fundamental law governing the members rights and obligations. [21] As such, the unions constitution and bylaws should be upheld, as long as they are not contrary to law, good morals or public policy. We agree with the finding of Director Bitonio and Med-Arbiter Falconitin that the October 4, 1996 election was tainted with irregularities because of the following reasons. First, the October 4, 1996 assembly was not called by the USTFU. It was merely a convocation of faculty clubs, as indicated in the memorandum sent to all faculty members by Fr. Rodel Aligan, OP, the secretary general of the University of Santo Tomas.[22] It was not convened in accordance with the provision on general membership meetings as found in the USTFUs CBL, which reads: ARTICLE VIII-MEETINGS OF THE UNION Section 1. The Union shall hold regular general membership meetings at least once every three (3) months. Notices of the meeting shall be sent out by the SecretaryGeneral at least ten (10) days prior to such meetings by posting in conspicuous places, preferably inside Company premises, said notices. The date, time and place for the meetings shall be determined by the Board of Officers.[23] Unquestionably, the assembly was not a union meeting. It was in fact a gathering that was called and participated in by management and non-union members. By no legal fiat was such assembly transformed into a union activity by the participation of some union members. Second, there was no commission on elections to oversee the election, as mandated by Sections 1 and 2 of Article IX of the USTFUs CBL, which provide: ARTICLE IX - UNION ELECTION Section 1. There shall be a Committee on Election (COMELEC) to be created by the Board of Officers at least thirty (30) days before any regular or special election. The functions of the COMELEC include the following:
a) b) c) Adopt and promulgate rules and regulations that will ensure a free, clean, honest and orderly election, whether regular or special; Pass upon qualifications of candidates; Rule on any question or protest regarding the conduct of the election subject to the procedure that may be promulgated by the Board of Officers; and

d)

Proclaim duly elected officers.

Section 2. The COMELEC shall be composed of a chairman and two members all of whom shall be appointed by the Board of Officers. xxx xxx xxx[24]

Third, the purported election was not done by secret balloting, in violation of Section 6, Article IX of the USTFUs CBL, as well as Article 241 (c) of the Labor Code. The foregoing infirmities considered, we cannot attribute grave abuse of discretion to Director Bitonios finding and conclusion. In Rodriguez v. Director, Bureau of Labor Relations,[25] we invalidated the local union elections held at the wrong date without prior notice to members and conducted without regard for duly prescribed ground rules. We held that the proceedings were rendered void by the lack of due process -- undue haste, lack of adequate safeguards to ensure integrity of the voting, and the absence of the notice of the dates of balloting.
Third Issue: Suspension of USTFUs CBL

Petitioners contend that the October 4, 1996 assembly suspended the unions CBL. They aver that the suspension and the election that followed were in accordance with their constituent and residual powers as members of the collective bargaining unit to choose their representatives for purposes of collective bargaining. Again they cite the numerous anomalies allegedly committed by the private respondents as USTFU officers. This argument does not persuade. First, as has been discussed, the general faculty assembly was not the proper forum to conduct the election of USTFU officers. Not all who attended the assembly were members of the union; some, apparently, were even disqualified from becoming union members, since they represented management. Thus, Director Bitonio correctly observed: Further, appellants cannot be heard to say that the CBL was effectively suspended during the 04 October 1996 general assembly. A union CBL is a covenant between the union and its members and among members (Johnson and Johnson Labor UnionFFW, et al. v. Director of Labor Relations, 170 SCRA 469). Where ILO Convention No. 87 speaks of a unions full freedom to draw up its constitution and rules, it includes freedom from interference by persons who are not members of the union. The democratic principle that governance is a matter for the governed to decide upon applies to the labor movement which, by law and constitutional mandate,

must be assiduously insulated against intrusions coming from both the employer and complete strangers if the 'protection to labor clause' of the constitution is to be guaranteed. By appellants own evidence, the general faculty assembly of 04 October 1996 was not a meeting of USTFU. It was attended by members and non-members alike, and therefore was not a forum appropriate for transacting union matters. The person who moved for the suspension of USTFUs CBL was not a member of USTFU. Allowing a non-union member to initiate the suspension of a unions CBL, and non-union members to participate in a union election on the premise that the unions CBL had been suspended in the meantime, is incompatible with the freedom of association and protection of the right to organize. If there are members of the so-called academic community collective bargaining unit who are not USTFU members but who would nevertheless want to have a hand in USTFUs affairs, the appropriate procedure would have been for them to become members of USTFU first. The procedure for membership is very clearly spelled out in Article IV of USTFUs CBL. Having become members, they could then draw guidance from Ang Malayang Manggagawa Ng Ang Tibay v. Ang Tibay, 103 Phil. 669. Therein the Supreme Court held that if a member of the union dislikes the provisions of the by-laws he may seek to have them amended or may withdraw from the union; otherwise he must abide by them. Under Article XVII of USTFUs CBL, there is also a specific provision for constitutional amendments. What is clear therefore is that USTFUs CBL provides for orderly procedures and remedies which appellants could have easily availed [themselves] of instead of resorting to an exercise of their so-called residual power'.[26] Second, the grievances of the petitioners could have been brought up and resolved in accordance with the procedure laid down by the unions CBL [27]and by the Labor Code.[28] They contend that their sense of desperation and helplessness led to the October 4, 1996 election. However, we cannot agree with the method they used to rectify years of inaction on their part and thereby ease bottled-up frustrations, as such method was in total disregard of the USTFUs CBL and of due process. The end never justifies the means. We agree with the solicitor generals observation that the act of suspending the constitution when the questioned election was held is an implied admission that the election held on that date [October 4, 1996] could not be considered valid under the existing USTFU constitution xxx.[29] The ratification of the new CBA executed between the petitioners and the University of Santo Tomas management did not validate the void October 4, 1996 election. Ratified were the terms of the new CBA, not the issue of union leadership -a matter that should be decided only by union members in the proper forum at the proper time and after observance of proper procedures.

Epilogue

In dismissing this Petition, we are not passing upon the merits of the mismanagement allegations imputed by the petitioners to the private respondents; these are not at issue in the present case. Petitioners can bring their grievances and resolve their differences with private respondents in timely and appropriate proceedings. Courts will not tolerate the unfair treatment of union members by their own leaders. When the latter abuse and violate the rights of the former, they shall be dealt with accordingly in the proper forum after the observance of due process. WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DISMISSED and Resolutions AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners. SO ORDERED. the assailed

G.R. No. 75810 September 9, 1991 KAISAHAN NG MANGGAGAWANG PILIPINO (KAMPIL-KATIPUNAN), petitioner, vs. HON. CRESENCIANO B. TRAJANO in his capacity as Director, Bureau of Labor Relations, and VIRON GARMENTS MFG., CO., INC., respondents. Esteban M. Mendoza for petitioner.

R E S O LU T I O N

NARVASA, J.:p The propriety of holding a certification election is the issue in the special civil action of certiorari at bar. By virtue of a Resolution of the Bureau of Labor Relations dated February 27, 1981, the National Federation of Labor Unions (NAFLU) was declared the exclusive bargaining representative of all rank-and-file employees of Viron Garments Manufacturing Co., Inc. (VIRON). More than four years thereafter, or on April 11, 1985, another union, the Kaisahan ng Manggagawang Pilipino KAMPIL Katipunan filed with the Bureau of Labor Relations a petition for certification election among the employees of VIRON. The petition allegedly counted with the support of more than thirty percent (30%) of the workers at VIRON. NAFLU opposed the petition, as might be expected. The Med-Arbiter however ordered, on June 14, 1985, that a certification election be held at VIRON as prayed for, after ascertaining that KAMPIL

had complied with all the requirements of law and that since the certification of NAFLU as sole bargaining representative in 1981, no collective bargaining agreement had been executed between it and VIRON. NAFLU appealed. It contended that at the time the petition for certification election was filed on April 11, 1985, it was in process of collective bargaining with VIRON; that there was in fact a deadlock in the negotiations which had prompted it to file a notice of strike; and that these circumstances constituted a bar to the petition for election in accordance with Section 3, Rule V, Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code, 1 reading as follows: SEC. 3. When to file. In the absence of a collective bargaining agreement submitted in accordance with Article 231 of the Code, a petition for certification election may be filed at any time. However, no certification election may be held within one year from the date of issuance of declaration of a final certification election result. Neither may a representation question be entertained if, before the filing of a petition for certification election, a bargaining deadlock to which an incumbent or certified bargaining agent is a party had been submitted to conciliation or arbitration or had become the subject of a valid notice of strike or lockout. If a collective bargaining agreement has been duly registered in accordance with Article 231 of the Code, a petition for certification election or a motion for intervention can only be entertained within sixty (60) days prior to the expiry date of such agreement. Finding merit in a NAFLU's appeal, the Director of Labor Relations rendered a Resolution on April 30, 1986 setting aside the Med-Arbiter's Order of June 14, 1985 and dismissing KAMPIL's petition for certification election. This disposition is justified in the Resolution as follows: ... While it may be true that the one-year period (mentioned in Section 3 above quoted) has long run its course since intervenor NAFLU was certified on February 27, 1981, it could not be said, however, that NAFLU slept on its right to bargain collectively with the employer. If a closer look was made on the history of labor management relations in the company, it could be readily seen that the delay in the negotiations for and conclusion of a collective agreement the object of the oneyear period could be attributed first, on the exhaustion of all legal remedies in the representation question twice initiated in the company before the filing of the present petition and second, to management who had been resisting the representations of NAFLU in collective bargaining. The one-year period therefore, should not be applied literally to the present dispute, especially considering that intervenor had to undergo a strike to bring management to the negotiation table. ... KAMPIL moved for reconsideration, and when this was denied, instituted in this Court the present certiorari action. It is evident that the prohibition imposed by law on the holding of a certification election "within one year from the date of issuance of declaration of a final certification election result' in this case, from February 27, 1981, the date of the Resolution declaring NAFLU the exclusive bargaining representative of rank-and-file workers of VIRON can have no application to the case at bar. That one-year period-known as the "certification year" during which the certified union is required to negotiate with the employer, and certification election is prohibited 2 has long since expired.

Thus the question for resolution is whether or not KAMPIL's petition for certification election is barred because,before its filing, a bargaining deadlock between VIRON and NAFLU as the incumbent bargaining agent, had been submitted to conciliation or arbitration or had become the subject of a valid notice of strike or lockout, in accordance with Section 3, Rule V, Book V of the Omnibus Rules above quoted. Again it seems fairly certain that prior to the filing of the petition for election in this case, there was no such "bargaining deadlock ... (which) had been submitted to conciliation or arbitration or had become the subject of a valid notice of strike or lockout." To be sure, there are in the record assertions by NAFLU that its attempts to bring VIRON to the negotiation table had been unsuccessful because of the latter's recalcitrance and unfulfilled promises to bargain collectively; 3 but there is no proof that it had taken any action to legally coerce VIRON to comply with its
statutory duty to bargain collectively. It could have charged VIRON with unfair labor practice; but it did not. It could have gone on a legitimate strike in protest against VIRON's refusal to bargain collectively and compel it to do so; but it did not. There are assertions by NAFLU, too, that its attempts to bargain collectively had been delayed by continuing challenges to the resolution pronouncing it the sole bargaining representative in VIRON; but there is no adequate substantiation thereof, or of how it did in fact prevent initiation of the bargaining process between it and VIRON.

The stark, incontrovertible fact is that from February 27, 1981 when NAFLU was proclaimed the exclusive bargaining representative of all VIRON employees to April 11, 1985 when KAMPIL filed its petition for certification election or a period of more than four (4) years, no collective bargaining agreement was ever executed, and no deadlock ever arose from negotiations between NAFLU and VIRON resulting in conciliation proceedings or the filing of a valid strike notice. The respondents advert to a strike declared by NAFLU on October 26, 1986 for refusal of VIRON to bargain and for violation of terms and conditions of employment, which was settled by the parties' agreement, and to another strike staged on December 6, 1986 in connection with a claim of violation of said agreement, a dispute which has since been certified for compulsory arbitration by the Secretary of Labor & Employment. 4 Obviously, however, these activities took place after the initiation of
the certification election case by KAMPIL, and it was grave abuse of discretion to have regarded them as precluding the holding of the certification election thus prayed for.

WHEREFORE, it being apparent that none of the proscriptions to certification election set out in the law exists in the case at bar, and it was in the premises grave abuse of discretion to have ruled otherwise, the contested Resolution of the respondent Director of the Bureau of Labor Relations dated April 30, 1986 in BLR Case No. A-7-139-85 (BZEO-CE-04-004-85) is NULLIFIED AND SET ASIDE. Costs against private respondent. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 89609 January 27, 1992 NATIONAL CONGRESS OF UNIONS IN THE SUGAR INDUSTRY OF THE PHILIPPINES (NACUSIP)-TUCP,petitioner, vs. HON. PURA FERRER-CALLEJA, in her capacity as Director of the Bureau of Labor Relations; and the NATIONAL FEDERATION OF SUGAR WORKERS (NFSW)-FGT-KMU, respondents. Zoilo V. De la Cruz, Jr., Beethoven R. Buenaventura and Pedro E. Jimenez for petitioner. Manlapao, Drilon, Ymballa and Chavez for private respondent.

MEDIALDEA, J.: This is a petition for certiorari seeking the nullification of the resolution issued by the respondent Director of the Bureau of Labor Relations Pura Ferrer-Calleja dated June 26, 1989 setting aside the order of the Med-Arbiter dated February 8, 1989 denying the motion to dismiss the petition and directing the conduct of a certification election among the rank and file employees or workers of the Dacongcogon Sugar and Rice Milling Co. situated at Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. The antecedent facts giving rise to the controversy at bar are as follows: Petitioner National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines (NACUSIP-TUCP) is a legitimate national labor organization duly registered with the Department of Labor and Employment. Respondent Honorable Pura Ferrer-Calleja is impleaded in her official capacity as the Director of the Bureau of Labor Relations of the Department of Labor and Employment, while private respondent National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW-FGT-KMU) is a labor organization duly registered with the Department of Labor and Employment. Dacongcogon Sugar and Rice Milling Co., Inc. (Dacongcogon) based in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental employs about five hundred (500) workers during milling season and about three hundred (300) on off-milling season. On November 14, 1984, private respondent NFSW-FGT-KMU and employer Dacongcogon entered into a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for a term of three (3) years, which was to expire on November 14, 1987. When the CBA expired, private respondent NFSW-FGT-KMU and Dacongcogon negotiated for its renewal. The CBA was extended for another three (3) years with reservation to negotiate for its amendment, particularly on wage increases, hours of work, and other terms and conditions of employment. However, a deadlock in negotiation ensued on the matter of wage increases and optional retirement. In order to obviate friction and tension, the parties agreed on a suspension to provide a cooling-off period to give them time to evaluate and further study their positions. Hence, a Labor Management Council was set up and convened, with a representative of the Department of Labor and Employment, acting as chairman, to resolve the issues. On December 5, 1988, petitioner NACUSIP-TUCP filed a petition for direct certification or certification election among the rank and file workers of Dacongcogon. On January 27, 1989, private respondent NFSW-FGT-KMU moved to dismiss the petition on the following grounds, to wit: I The Petition was filed out of time; II

There is a deadlocked (sic) of CBA negotiation between forced intervenor and respondent-central. (Rollo, p. 25) On February 6, 1989, Dacongcogon filed an answer praying that the petition be dismissed. By an order dated February 8, 1989, the Med-Arbiter denied the motion to dismiss filed by private respondent NFSW-FGT-KMU and directed the conduct of certification election among the rank and file workers of Dacongcogon, the dispositive portion of which provides as follows: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion to Dismiss the present petition is, as it is hereby DENIED. Let therefore a certification election among the rank and file employees/workers of the Dacongcogon Sugar and Rice Milling Co., situated at Kabankalan, Neg. Occ., be conducted with the following choices: (1) National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines (NACUSIP-TUCP); (2) National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW); (3) No Union. The designated Representation Officer is hereby directed to call the parties for a preelection conference to thresh out the mechanics of the election and to conduct and supervise the same within twenty (20) days from receipt by the parties of this Order. The latest payroll shall be used to determine the list of qualified voters. SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 34) On February 9, 1989, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration and/or appeal alleging that the Honorable Med-Arbiter misapprehended the facts and the law applicable amounting to gross incompetence. Hence, private respondent prayed that the order of the Med-Arbiter be set aside and the motion to dismiss be reconsidered. On February 27, 1989, petitioner filed its opposition to the motion for reconsideration praying that the motion for reconsideration and/or appeal be denied for lack of merit. On June 26, 1989, respondent Director of the Bureau of Labor Relations rendered a resolution reversing the order of the Med-Arbiter, to wit: WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Order of the Med-Arbiter dated 8 February 1989 is hereby set aside and vacated, and a new one issued dismissing the aboveentitled petition for being filed out of time. SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 46) Hence, this petition raising four (4) issues, to wit: I. RESPONDENT HON. PURA FERRER-CALLEJA, IN HER CAPACITY AS DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF LABOR RELATIONS, COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN RENDERING HER RESOLUTION DATED 26 JUNE

1989 REVERSING THE ORDER DATED FEBRUARY 8, 1989 OF MED-ARBITER FELIZARDO SERAPIO. II. THAT THE AFORESAID RESOLUTION DATED 26 JUNE 1989 OF RESPONDENT PURA FERRER-CALLEJA IS CONTRARY TO LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE. III. THAT THE AFORESAID RESOLUTION DATED 26 JUNE 1989 OF RESPONDENT DIRECTOR PURA FERRER-CALLEJA DENIES THE RANK AND FILE EMPLOYEES OF THE DACONGCOGON SUGAR & RICE MILLING COMPANY, AND THE HEREIN PETITIONER NACUSIP-TUCP, THEIR LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. IV. THAT RESPONDENT DIRECTOR PURA FERRER-CALLEJA, IN RENDERING HER SAID RESOLUTION DATED 26 JUNE 1989 WAS BIASED AGAINST PETITIONER NACUSIP-TUCP. (Rollo, p. 2) The controversy boils down to the sole issue of whether or not a petition for certification election may be filed after the 60-day freedom period. Petitioner maintains that respondent Director Calleja committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction in rendering the resolution dated June 26, 1989 setting aside, vacating and reversing the order dated February 8, 1989 of Med-Arbiter Serapio, in the following manner: 1) by setting aside and vacating the aforesaid Order dated February 8, 1989 of MedArbiter Felizardo Serapio and in effect dismissing the Petition for Direct or Certification Election of Petitioner NACUSIP-TUCP (Annex "A" hereof) without strong valid, legal and factual basis; 2) by giving a very strict and limited interpretation of the provisions of Section 6, Rule V, Book V of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code, as amended, knowing, as she does, that the Labor Code, being a social legislation, should be liberally interpreted to afford the workers the opportunity to exercise their legitimate legal and constitutional rights to self-organization and to free collective bargaining; 3) by issuing her questioned Resolution of June 26, 1989 knowing fully well that upon the effectivity of Rep. Act No. 6715 on 21 March 1989 she had no longer any appellate powers over decisions of Med-Arbiters in cases of representation issues or certification elections; 4) by ignoring intentionally the applicable ruling of the Honorable Supreme Court in the case ofKapisanan ng Mga Manggagawa sa La Suerte-FOITAF vs. Noriel, L45475, June 20, 1977; 5) by clearly failing to appreciate the significance (sic) of the fact that for more than four (4) years there has been no certification election involving the rank and file workers of the Company; and,

6) by frustrating the legitimate desire and will of the workers of the Company to determine their sole and exclusive collective bargaining representative through secret balloting. (Rollo, pp. 9-10) However, the public respondent through the Solicitor General stresses that the petition for certification election was filed out of time. The records of the CBA at the Collective Agreements Division (CAD) of the Bureau of Labor Relations show that the CBA between Dacongcogon and private respondent NFSW-FGT-KMU had expired on November 14, 1987, hence, the petition for certification election was filed too late, that is, a period of more than one (1) year after the CBA expired. The public respondent maintains that Section 6 of the Rules Implementing Executive Order No. 111 commands that the petition for certification election must be filed within the last sixty (60) days of the CBA and further reiterates and warns that any petition filed outside the 60-day freedom period "shall be dismissed outright." Moreover, Section 3, Rule V, Book V of the Rules Implementing the Labor Code enjoins the filing of a representation question, if before a petition for certification election is filed, a bargaining deadlock to which the bargaining agent is a party is submitted for conciliation or arbitration. Finally, the public respondent emphasizes that respondent Director has jurisdiction to entertain the motion for reconsideration interposed by respondent union from the order of the Med-Arbiter directing a certification election. Public respondent contends that Section 25 of Republic Act No. 6715 is not applicable, "(f)irstly, there is as yet no rule or regulation established by the Secretary for the conduct of elections among the rank and file of employer Dacongcogon; (s)econdly, even the mechanics of the election which had to be first laid out, as directed in the Order dated February 8, 1989 of the Med-Arbiter, was aborted by the appeal therefrom interposed by respondent union; and (t)hirdly, petitioner is estopped to question the jurisdiction of respondent Director after it filed its opposition to respondent union's Motion for Reconsideration (Annex 'F,' Petition) and without, as will be seen, in any way assailing such jurisdiction. . . ." (Rollo, p.66) We find the petition devoid of merit. A careful perusal of Rule V, Section 6, Book V of the Rules Implementing the Labor Code, as amended by the rules implementing Executive Order No. 111 provides that: Sec. 6. Procedure . . . In a petition involving an organized establishment or enterprise where the majority status of the incumbent collective bargaining union is questioned by a legitimate labor organization, the Med-Arbiter shall immediately order the conduct of a certification election if the petition is filed during the last sixty (60) days of the collective bargaining agreement. Any petition filed before or after the sixty-day freedom period shall be dismissed outright. The sixty-day freedom period based on the original collective bargaining agreement shall not be affected by any amendment, extension or renewal of the collective bargaining agreement for purposes of certification election. xxx xxx xxx

The clear mandate of the aforequoted section is that the petition for certification election filed by the petitioner NACUSIP-TUCP should be dismissed outright, having been filed outside the 60-day freedom period or a period of more than one (1) year after the CBA expired. It is a rule in this jurisdiction that only a certified collective bargaining agreement i.e., an agreement duly certified by the BLR may serve as a bar to certification elections. (Philippine Association of Free Labor Unions (PAFLU) v. Estrella, G.R. No. 45323, February 20, 1989, 170 SCRA 378, 382) It is noteworthy that the Bureau of Labor Relations duly certified the November 14, 1984 collective bargaining agreement. Hence, the contract-bar rule as embodied in Section 3, Rule V, Book V of the rules implementing the Labor Code is applicable. This rule simply provides that a petition for certification election or a motion for intervention can only be entertained within sixty days prior to the expiry date of an existing collective bargaining agreement. Otherwise put, the rule prohibits the filing of a petition for certification election during the existence of a collective bargaining agreement except within the freedom period, as it is called, when the said agreement is about to expire. The purpose, obviously, is to ensure stability in the relationships of the workers and the management by preventing frequent modifications of any collective bargaining agreement earlier entered into by them in good faith and for the stipulated original period. (Associated Labor Unions (ALU-TUCP) v. Trajano, G.R. No. 77539, April 12, 1989, 172 SCRA 49, 57 citing Associated Trade Unions (ATU v. Trajano, G.R. No. L-75321, 20 June 1988, 162 SCRA 318, 322-323) Anent the petitioner's contention that since the expiration of the CBA in 1987 private respondent NFSW-FGT-KMU and Dacongcogon had not concluded a new CBA, We need only to stress what was held in the case of Lopez Sugar Corporation v. Federation of Free Workers, Philippine Labor Union Association (G.R. No. 75700-01, 30 August 1990, 189 SCRA 179, 191) quoting Article 253 of the Labor Code that "(i)t shall be the duty of both parties to keep the status quo and to continue in full force and effect the terms and conditions of the existing agreement during the 60-day period and/or until a new agreement is reached by the parties." Despite the lapse of the formal effectivity of the CBA the law still considers the same as continuing in force and effect until a new CBA shall have been validly executed. Hence, the contract bar rule still applies. Besides, it should be emphasized that Dacongcogon, in its answer stated that the CBA was extended for another three (3) years and that the deadlock was submitted to the Labor Management Council. All premises considered, the Court is convinced that the respondent Director of the Bureau of Labor Relations did not commit grave abuse of discretion in reversing the order of the Med-Arbiter. ACCORDINGLY, the petition is DENIED and the resolution of the respondent Director of the Bureau of Labor Relations is hereby AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. L-77282 May 5, 1989 ASSOCIATED LABOR UNIONS (ALU) petitioner, vs. HON. PURA FERRER-CALLEJA, as Director of the Bureau of Labor Relations, Ministry of Labor and Employment; PHILIPPINE SOCIAL SECURITY LABOR UNION (PSSLU); SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES FEDERATION OF LABOR (SPFL) and GAW TRADING, INC., respondents.

Romeo S. Occena, Leonard U. Sawal, Edgemelo C. Rosales and Ernesto Carreon for petitioner. Henrick F. Gingoyon for respondent SPFL. Wilfredo L. Orcullo for respondent Southern Philippines Federation of Labor. Miguel A. Enrique, Jr. for respondent GAW Trading, Inc.

REGALADO, J.: Petitioner Associated Labor Unions (ALU, for brevity) instituted this special civil action for certiorari and prohibition to overturn the decision of the respondent direcstor 1 dated December 10,
1986, which ordered the holding of a certification election among the rank-and-file workers of the private respondent GAW Trading, Inc. The averments in the petition therefor, which succinctly but sufficiently detail the relevant factual antecedents of this proceedings, justify their being quoted in full, thus:

1. The associated Labor Unions (ALU) thru its regional Vice-Presidents Teofanio C. Nuez, in a letter dated May 7, 1986 (ANNEX C) informed GAW Trading, Inc. that majority of the latter's employees have authorized ALU to be their sole and exclusive bargaining representative, and requested GAW Trading Inc., in the same Letter for a conference for the execution of an initial Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA); 2. GAW Trading Inc. received the Letter of ALU aforesaid on the same day of May 7, 1986 as acknowledged thereunder and responded (sic) ALU in a letter dated May 12, 1986 (Annex D) indicating its recognition of ALU as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent for the majority of its employees and for which it set the time for conference and/or negotiation at 4:00 P.M. on May 12, 1986 at the Pillsbury Office, Aboitiz Building Juan Luna Street, Cebu City; 3. On the following day of May13, 1986, ALU in behalf of the majority of the employees of GAW Trading Inc. signed and excuted the Collective Bargaining (ANNEX F) ... 4. On May 15, 1986, ALU in behalf of the majority of the employees of GAW Trading Inc. and GAW Trading Inc. signed and executed the Collective Bargaining Agreements (ANNEX F) . . . . 5. In the meantime, at about 1:00 P.M. of May 9, 1986, the Southern Philippines Federation of Labor (SPFL) together with Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa GAW (NAMGAW) undertook a ... Strike ... after it failed to get the management of GAW Trading Inc. to sit for a conference respecting its demands presented at 11: A.M. on the same day in an effort to pressure GAW Trading Inc. to make a turnabout of its standign recognition of ALU as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of its employees, as to which strike GAW Trading Inc. filed a petition for Restraining Order/Preliminary Injunction, dfated June 1, 1986 (Annex H) and which strike Labor Arbiter Bonifacio B. Tumamak held as illegal in a decision dated August 5, 1986 (ANNEX I);

6. On May 19, 1986, GAW Lumad Labor Union (GALLU-PSSLU) Federation ... filed a Certification Election petition (ANNEX J), but as found by Med-Arbiter Candido M. Cumba in its (sic) Order dated Ju ne 11, 1986 (ANNEX K), without having complied (sic) the subscription requirement for which it was merely considered an intervenor until compliance thereof in the other petition for direct recogbnition as bargaining agent filed on MAy 28, 1986 by southern Philippines Federation of Labor (SPFL) as found in the same order (ANNEX K); 7. Int he meantime, the Collective Bargaining Agreement executed by ALU and GAW Trading Inc. (ANNEX F) was duly filed May 27, 1986 with the Ministry of Labor and Employment in Region VII, Cebu city; 8. Nevertheless, Med-Arbiter Candido M. Cumba in his order of June 11, 1986 (Annex K) ruled for the holding of a ceritfication election in all branches of GAW Trading Inc. in Cebu City, as to which ALU filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated June 19, 1986 (ANNEX L) which was treated as an appeal on that questioned Order for which reason the entire record of subject certification case was forwarded for the Director, Bureau of LAbor Relations, Ministry of Labor and Employment, Manila (ANNEX M); 9. Bureau of Labor Relations Director Cresencio B. Trajano, rendered a Decision on August 13, 1986 (Annex B) granting ALU's appeal (Motion for Reconsideration) and set aside the questioned Med-Arbiter Order of June 11, 1986 (Annex K), on the ground that the CBA has been effective and valid and the contract bar rule applicable; 10. But the same Decision of Director Crecensio B. Trajano was sought for reconsideratrion both by Southern Philippines Federation of Labor (SPFL) on August 26, 1986 (ANNEX N), supplemented by the 'SUBMISSION OD ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE' dated September 29, 1986 (ANNEX O), and the Philppine Social Security Labor Union (PSSLU) on October 2, 1986 (ANNEX P), which were opposed by both GAW Trading, Inc. on September 2, 1986 (ANNEX Q) and ALU on September 12, 1986 (ANNEX R); 2 The aforesaid decision of then Director Trajano was thereafter reversed by respondent director in her aforecited decision which is now assailed in this action. A motion for reconsideration of ALU 3 appears to have been disregarded, hence, its present resort grounded on grave abuse of
discretion by public respondent.

Public respondent ordered the holding of a certification election ruling that the "contract bar rule" relied upon by her predecessor does not apply in the present controversy. According to the decision of said respondent, the collective bargaining agreement involved herein is defective because it "was not duly submitted in accordance with Section I, Rule IX, Book V of the Implementing Rules of Batas Pambansa Blg. 130." It was further observed that "(t)here is no proof tending to show that the CBA has been posted in at least two conspicuous places in the 1 establishment at least five days before its ratification and that it has been ratified by the majority of the employees in the bargaining unit." We find no reversible error in the challenged decision of respondent director. A careful consideration of the facts culled from the records of this case, especially the allegations of petitioner itself as hereinabove quoted, yields the conclusion that the collective bargaining agreement in question is indeed defective hence unproductive of the legal effects attributed to it by the former director in his decision which was subsequently and properly reversed.

We have previously held that the mechanics of collective bargaining are set in motion only when the following jurisdictional preconditions are present, namely, (1) possession of the status of majority representation by the employees' representative in accordance with any of the means of selection and/or designation provided for by the Labor Code; (2) proof of majority representation; and (3) a demand to bargain under Article 251, paragraph (a), of the New Labor Code. 4 In the present case,
the standing of petitioner as an exclusive bargaining representative is dubious, to say the least. It may be recalled that respondent company, in a letter dated May 12, 1986 and addressed to petitioner, merely indicated that it was "not against the desire of (its) workers" and required petitioner to present proof that it was supported by the majority thereof in a meeting to be held on the same date. 5 The only express recognition of petitioner as said employees' bargaining representative that We see in the records is in the collective bargaining agreement entered into two days thereafter. 6 Evidently, there was precipitate haste on the part of respondent company in recognizing petitioner union, which recognition appears to have been based on the self-serving claim of the latter that it had the support of the majority of the employees in the bargaining unit. Furthermore, at the time of the supposed recognition, the employer was obviously aware that there were other unions existing in the unit. As earlier stated, respondent company's letter is dated May 12, 1986 while the two other unions, Southern Philippine Federation of Labor (hereafter, SPFL and Philippine Social Security Labor Union (PSSLU, for short), went on strike earlier on May 9, 1986. The unusual promptitude in the recognition of petitioner union by respondent company as the exclusive bargaining representative of the workers in GAW Trading, Inc. under the fluid and amorphous circumstances then obtaining, was decidedly unwarranted and improvident.

It bears mention that even in cases where it was the then Minister of Labor himself who directly certified the union as the bargaining representative, this Court voided such certification where there was a failure to properly determine with legal certainty whether the union enjoyed a majority representation. In such a case, the holding of a certification election at a proper time would not necessarily be a mere formality as there was a compelling reason not to directly and unilaterally certify a union. 7 An additional infirmity of the collective bargaining agreement involved was the failure to post the same in at least two (2) conspicuous places in the establishment at least five days before its ratification. 8 Petitioners rationalization was that "(b)ecause of the real existence of the illegal strike
staged by SPFL in all the stores of GAW Trading, Inc. it had become impossible to comply with the posting requirement in so far as the realization of tits purpose is concerned as there were no impartial members of the unit who could be appraised of the CBA's contents. " 9 This justification is puerile and unacceptable.

In the first place, the posting of copies of the collective bargaining agreement is the responsibility of the employer which can easily comply with the requirement through a mere mechanical act. The fact that there were "no impartial members of the unit" is immaterial. The purpose of the requirement is precisely to inform the employees in the bargaining unit of the contents of said agreement so that they could intelligently decide whether to accept the same or not. The assembly of the members of ALU wherein the agreement in question was allegedly explained does not cure the defect. The contract is intended for all employees and not only for the members of the purpoted representative alone. It may even be said the the need to inform the non-members of the terms thereof is more exigent and compelling since, in all likehood, their contact with the persons who are supposed to represent them is limited. Moreover, to repeat, there was an apparent and suspicious hurry in the formulation and finalization of said collective bargaining accord. In the sforementioned letter where respondent company required petitioner union to present proof of its support by the employees, the company already suggested that petitioner ALU at the same time submit the proposals that it intended to embody in the projected agreement. This was on May 12, 1986, and prompltly on thre following day the negoltiation panel; furnish respondent company final copies of the desired agreement whcih, with equal dispatch, was signed on May 15, 1986.

Another potent reason for annulling the disputed collective bargaining is the finding of respondent director that one hundred eighty-one( 181) of the two hundred eighty-one (281) workers who "ratified" the same now " strongly and vehemently deny and/or repudiate the alleged negotiations and ratification of the CBA. " 10 Although petitioner claims that only sev en (7) of the repudiating group of
workers belong to the total number who allegedly ratified the agreement, nevertheless such substantiated contention weighed against the factujal that the controverted contract will not promote industrial stability . The Court has long since declared that:

... Basic to the contract bar rule is the proposition that the delay of the right to select represen tatives can be justified only where stability is deemed paramount. Excepted from the contract which do not foster industrial stability, such as contracts where the identity of the representative is in doubt. Any stability derived from such contracts must be subordinated to the employees' freedom of choice because it does nto establish the type of industrial peace contemplated by the law. 11 At this juncture, petitioner should be reminded that the technical rules of rpocedure do not strictly apply in the adjudication of labor disputes. 12 Consequently, its objection that the evidence with respect
to the aforesaid repudiiation of the supposed collective bargaining agreement cannot be considered for the first time on appeal on the Bureau of Labor Relations should be disregarded, especially considering the weighty significance thereof.

Both petitioner and private respondent GAW Trading, Inc. allege that the employees of the latter are now enjoying the benefits of the collective bargaining agreement that both parties had forged. However, We cannot find sufficient evidence of record to support this contention. The only evidence cited by petitioner is supposed payment of union fees by said employees, a premise too tenuous to sustain the desired conclusion. Even the actual number of workers in the respondent company is not clear from the records. Said private respondent claims that it is two hundred eighty-one (281) 13 but
petitioner suggests that it is more than that number. The said parties should be aware that this Court is not an adjudicator of facts. Worse, to borrow a trite but apt phrase, they would heap the Ossa of confusion upon the Pelion of uncertainty and still expect a definitive ruling on the matter thus confounded.

Additionally, the inapplicability of the contract bar rule is further underscored by the fact that when the disputed agreement was filed before the Labor Regional Office on May 27, 1986, a petition for certification election had already been filed on May 19, 1986. Although the petition was not supported by the signatures of thirty percent (30%) of the workers in the bargaining unit, the same was enough to initiate said certification election. WHEREFORE, the order of the public respondent for the conduct of a certification election among the rank-and-file workers of respondent GAW Trading Inc. is AFFIRMED. The temporary restraining order issued in this case pursuant to the Resolution of March 25, 1987 is hereby lifted. SO ORDERED. G.R. No. L-46722 June 15, 1978 NATIONAL MINES AND ALLIED WORKERS UNION (NAMAWU-MIF), petitioner, vs. ATTY. ERUDITO E. LUNA, in his capacity as Med-Arbiter, Labor Relations Division, Regional Office, Department of Labor, Baguio City; BENGUET EXPLORATION MINERS' UNION; and BENGUET EXPLORATION, INC., respondents. Perfecto V. Fernandez and Villaruz, Padilla & Amansec for petitioner.

Jesus Jarmilla for private respondents. Erudito E. Luna for and in his own behalf.

FERNANDO, Acting CJ.: The tenor of the ruling of this Court in Benguet Exploration Miners' Union v. Noriel, 1 involving the
same two labor unions, parties to this case, 2 with principal respondent Med-Arbiter Erudito E. Luna in this certiorari petition likewise included therein as one of the public respondents, not lend itself to misinterpretation. It reflected the constant and unwavering policy of this Court requiring a certification election as the best means of ascertaining which labor organization should be the collective bargaining representative. So it has been since United Employees Union of Gelmart Industries Philippines v. Noriel, 3 promulgated the first year of the effectivity of the present Labor Code, to Monark International, Inc. v. Noriel, 4decided in the early part of this month. The attempt on the part of such labor organization, now respondent, then petitioner, Benguet Exploration Miners' Union, to prevent a certification election by the far-fetched and implausible plea that before it could be ordered by respondents Noriel and Luna, they should first decide a motion to dismiss based on a provisional guideline which had become obsolete, was thus rendered futile. Implicit in the ruling of this Court then was that there was no further obstacle to a certification election being held. This is quite obvious from that portion of the opinion citing with approval the comment of the then Acting Solicitor General Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., quoting respondent Director Noriel to this effect: " 'Since there has been no certification election for the past (12) months and no certified collective bargaining agreement, the present petition for certification election could naturally prosper. ... to which order a motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioner but which was denied in a resolution dated June 28, 1976. ... . 5

Petitioner labor union, in this certiorari proceeding, after noting that it "is a direct and immediate outgrowth, consequence or result [of the above decision laying] down the law or principle of the case" assailed an order of respondent Med-Arbiter Luna dated July 29, 1977, which surprisingly denied the petition for certification election of such union on the ground that there was lacking the 30% requirement provided for by the Labor Code, 6 ignoring the previous actuation of his superior,
Director Carmelo C. Noriel, and what is worse, the decision of this Court. The principal reliance of petitioner is on the fundamental doctrine of the law of the case, which was alleged to have been flagrantly if not defiantly, disregarded under circumstances "attended with unreasonableness caprice or arbitrariness as to pose the issue of substantive due process; ... ." 7 As asserted in the petition: "The precise situation presented in this case calls for expeditious and appropriate relief through certiorari and mandamus proceedings, which special civil actions are not within the cognizance of the Bureau of Labor Relations." 8 An effort was made in the answers both public respondent Luna as well as of private respondent Benguet Exploration Miners' Union, but it is of no avail. As noted in the vigorous language of counsel for petitioner Perfecto B, Fernandez: "Apart from the fatal flaw of grossly departing from, if not disregarding, the principle or law of the case laid down in L-44110 by the Honorable Court, the Order of dismissal dated July 29, 1977 further violates, disregards and even defies the established pertinent rulings and doctrines laid down by this Honorable Court. 9

An examination of the record gives warrant to such a charge. It is quite manifest that the petition is impressed with merit. So we rule and order the certification election. 1. "A well-known legal principle," according to Justice Malcolm as ponente in the leading case of Zarate v. Director of Lands, 10 decided way back in 1919, is that when an appellate court has once
declared the law in a case, such declaration continues to be the law of that case even on a subsequent appeal.

The rule made by an appellate court, while it may be reversed in other cases, cannot be departed from in subsequent proceedings in the same case. The 'Law of the Case,' as applied to a former decision of an appellate court, merely expresses the practice of the courts in refusing to re-open what has been decided. Such a rule is 'necessary to enable an appellate court to perform its duties satisfactorily and efficiently, which would be impossible if a question, once considered and decided by it, were to be litigated anew in the same case upon any and every subsequent appeal.' Again, the rule is necessary as a matter of policy in order to end litigation. " 11People v. Olarte, 12 promulgated in
1967, reaffirmed this doctrine. It was then stressed by Justice J.B.L. Reyes that a ruling constituting the law of the case, "even if erroneous, ... may no longer be disturbed or modified since it has become final ... . "13 Sanchez v. Court of Industrial Relations, 14 a 1969 decision, is also deserving of mention. There was a categorical pronouncement therein that the law of the case "does not apply solely to what is embodied in [this Court's] decision but likewise to its implementation carried out in fealty to what has been ... decreed." 15 The later decisions speak to the same effect. 16 It is understandable therefore why petitioner labor union could employ condemnatory language in assailing the order of respondent Med-Arbiter denying its petition for a certification election, after this Court had made plain that observance and respect for controlling precedents require that it be held.

2. Even without reliance on the above doctrine, petitioner labor union had made out its case against respondent Med-Arbiter. The opening paragraph of this opinion quoted the order of Director Noriel duly noted in L-44110 the previous case between the parties, that there had been as of April 24, 1976 "no certification election for the past twelve (12) months and no certified collective bargaining agreement, therefore the present petition for certification election could naturally prosper. " What is more, the Court thereafter gave its approval to such an order when the certified petition by the present respondent labor union was dismissed. Nothing was left then for respondent Med-Arbiter but to obey. The alleged jurisdictional bar was held to be a mere flimsy pretext to avoid the holding of a certification election. The duty of respondent Med-Arbiter as a subordinate official was quite clear. He failed to comply. file issued the challenged-order, It must be set aside, clearly violative as it was of the liberal approach constantly followed by this Court in matters of certification elections. 3. By way of explanation, for certainly there could be no justification in law for what was done, respondent Med-Arbiter. in the assailed order, alleged that while the evidence for petitioner union showed that the 30% requirement had been complied with as indicated by the signatures of the employees in the collective bargaining unit, thereafter, at least 212 had changed their minds, as shown by affidavits submitted by respondents union the reducing to less than the required percentage the number of employees petitioning for certification election. InFederacion Obrera de la Industria Tabaquera y Otros Trabajadores de Filipinas v. Noriel, 17 this Court had occasion to state the
rule that should be followed in case of such withdrawal or retraction of signatures. Thus: "There is persuasiveness, likewise, to the submission of Solicitor General Mendoza in the comment filed, that the thirteen employees who allegedly retracted were not even presented before the Med-arbiter and that the alleged additional forty-five employees who supposedly likewise changed their minds, were also not called to testify to that effect, petitioner satisfying itself with their being named in an affidavit executed by its president. That would make, so it is plausibly contended, such alleged retraction to be highly dubious in character There is this reinforcement to the contention of respondent public official in this closing paragraph of such comment: 'Besides, the best forum for determining whether there were indeed retractions from some of the laborers is in the certification election itself wherein the workers can freely express their choice in a secret ballot. If, therefore, petitioner herein is confident that it commands the majority of the workers in the collective bargaining unit, why then does it vigorously oppose a certification election?' " 18 Had the respondent Med-Arbiter been aware of the above, then perhaps he would not have been led to pursue a course of action clearly at war with the doctrine in interruptedly adhered to by this Court favoring the holding of certification elections.

4. The present state of the law on certification elections was succinctly set forth in the latest case, Monark International, Inc. v. Noriel, referred to at the outset of this opinion: "United Employees Union of Gelmart Industries Philippines v. Noriel has left no doubt that both under the Industrial

Peace Act and the present Labor Code, this Court is committed to the view that a certification election is "crucial" to the institution of collective bargaining for it gives "substance to the principle of majority rule, one of the basic concepts of a democratic polity." In a subsequent case, Philippine Association of Free Labor Unions v. Bureau of Labor Relations, it was held that even conceding that the statutory requirement of 30% of the labor force asking for a certification election had not been strictly complied with, respondent Director is still empowered to order that it be held "precisely for the purpose of ascertaining which [of the contending labor organizations] shall be the exclusive collective bargaining representative." Such requirement then, to quote from Kapisanan Ng Mga Manggagawa v. Noriel, 'is relevant only when it becomes mandatory for respondent Noriel to conduct a certification election. 19 In all other instances, the discretion, according to the rulings of this
Tribunal, ought to be ordinarily exercised in favor of a petition for certification. It would follow then that had respondent Med-Arbiter taken due note of the authoritative and controlling precedents, he would not have ruled the was he did, unless he was so-minded Once again, it is quite apparent that independently of the doctrine of the law of the case, deference to such applicable pronouncements from this Tribunal ought to have dictated a result different than that arrived at in the assailed order. 20

5. With his attention being called to the grave infirmity that marred his actuation, in a petition buttressed by an impressive citation of authorities, respondent Med-Arbiter must have realized the necessity of explaining an order which, clearly, was bereft of support in law, He could, of course, plead good faith. That he did in his comment. Thus; "If in the course of your respondent's exercise of jurisdiction he committed errors of law or misapprehension of facts, especially on the interpretation of difficult questions of law, or errors arising from appraising the evidence, these were all done in honest good faith and impartiality to the very best he could under the premises, for no man is infallible. Your respondent has no intention whatsoever to disregard the rulings of the Honorable Court nor is he prone to do that nor will he ever defy, Nonetheless, at the time he prepared the decision, your respondent was not aware of the ruling in Today's Knitting Free Workers Union v. Hon. Carmelo Noriel, L-45057, February 28, 1977, as this case is relatively recent." 21 Also: "Your
respondent, as a tried of facts, respectfully submits that whatever error he has committed in rendering his decision which is now marked as Annex B of the complaint were not actuated by partiality or deliberate malice. Your respondent has explained in his decision why he arrived at such conclusion and in so doing his act was not corrupt or inspired by an intention to violate the law or in persistent disregard of wellknown legal rules. 22Apparently, it was only when he was required to answer this petition that this relevant excerpt from Today's Knitting Free Workers Union, 23 came to his attention. Thus: "At any rate, if there is any doubt as to the required number having been met. what better way is there than the holding of a certification election to ascertain which union really commands the allegiance of the rank-and-file employees." 24 Was he likewise unaware of the previously cited Federacion Obrera pronouncement which was ignored by him? It was promulgated on July 6, 1976, more than one year before the issuance of the challenged order. Is it too much to expect of members of the bar that, after the lapse of twelve months, they should have nodding acquaintance at least with decisions of this Court, especially those that have a bearing on the activities to which they dedicate themselves, whether in a personal or official capacity? The question answers itself.

6. Such disclaimer of absence of arbitrariness, which respondent Med-Arbiter must have realized is offensive to the due process guarantee, could have been more persuasive. It hardly reflected a chastened mood. There was even a bellicose tone when, referring to petitions challenging his actuations, he went so far as to assert that they could "make his position unbearable and would be nothing short of harassment. 25 There was no attempt to refute any of the decisions cited in support of
the petition. It did not preclude respondent Med-Arbiter however, from seeking its dismissal. There is then, it would appear, more than just a touch of obduracy and stubbornness in such an attitude. This reminder from the pen of the illustrious Justice Laurel as ponente in the landmark case of People v. Vera, 26 is in order. A becoming modesty of inferior courts demands conscious realization of the position that they occupy in the interrelation and operation of the integrated judicial system of the nation." 27 After all, as a Med-Arbiter, respondent takes legitimate pride in the fact that he is a quasi-judicial officer, ...

." 28 Such well-meant admonition should be taken to heart. Who knows, it could improve the standing of respondent as a Med-Arbiter.

7. The remedy sought must be granted. A certification election should be ordered. As is quite clear from the aforecited order of Director Noriel dated April 24, 1976, there had been no certification election for over a year that will make it almost three years now as well as no certified collective bargaining agreement. This sad state of affairs should be terminated. Repeatedly, this Court had made clear that in labor controversies, time is of the essence. WHEREFORE, the certiorari prayed for is granted and the order of respondent Med-Arbiter Erudito E. Luna, dated July 29, 1977, denying the petition for a certification election filed by petitioner National Mines and Allied Workers Union (NAMAWU-MIF) is nullified and set aside. The certification election must be held forthwith. This decision is immediately executory. No costs. Barredo, Aquino, Concepcion, Jr., and Santos, JJ., concur. Antonio, J., is on leave. G.R. No. 84433 June 2, 1992 ALEXANDER REYES, ALBERTO M. NERA, EDGARDO M. GECA, and 138 others, petitioners, vs. CRESENCIANO B. TRAJANO, as Officer-in-Charge, Bureau of Labor Relations, Med. Arbiter PATERNO ADAP, and TRI-UNION EMPLOYEES UNION, et al., respondent.

NARVASA, C.J.: The officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Labor Relations (Hon. Cresenciano Trajano) sustained the denial by the Med Arbiter of the right to vote of one hundred forty-one (141) members of the "Iglesia ni Kristo" (INK), all employed in the same company, at a certification election at which two (2) labor organizations were contesting the right to be the exclusive representative of the employees in the bargaining unit. That denial is assailed as having been done with grave abuse of discretion in the special civil action of certiorari at bar, commenced by the INK members adversely affected thereby. The certification election was authorized to be conducted by the Bureau of Labor Relations among the employees of Tri-Union Industries Corporation on October 20, 1987. The competing unions were Tri-Union Employees Union-Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture (TUEUOLALIA), and Trade Union of the Philippines and Allied Services (TUPAS). Of the 348 workers initially deemed to be qualified voters, only 240 actually took part in the election, conducted under the provision of the Bureau of Labor Relations. Among the 240 employees who cast their votes were 141 members of the INK. The ballots provided for three (3) choices. They provided for votes to be cast, of course, for either of the two (2) contending labor organizations, (a) TUPAS and (b) TUEU-OLALIA; and, conformably with established rule and practice, 1 for (c) a third choice: "NO UNION." The final tally of the votes showed the following results: TUPAS 1

TUEU-OLALIA 95 NO UNION 1 SPOILED 1 CHALLENGED 141 The challenged votes were those cast by the 141 INK members. They were segregated and excluded from the final count in virtue of an agreement between the competing unions, reached at the pre-election conference, that the INK members should not be allowed to vote "because they are not members of any union and refused to participate in the previous certification elections." The INK employees promptly made known their protest to the exclusion of their votes. They filed f a petition to cancel the election alleging that it "was not fair" and the result thereof did "not reflect the true sentiments of the majority of the employees." TUEU-OLALIA opposed the petition. It contended that the petitioners "do not have legal personality to protest the results of the election," because "they are not members of either contending unit, but . . . of the INK" which prohibits its followers, on religious grounds, from joining or forming any labor organization. . . ." The Med-Arbiter saw no merit in the INK employees 1 petition. By Order dated December 21, 1987, he
certified the TUEU-OLALIA as the sole and exclusive bargaining agent of the rank-and-file employees. In that Order he decided the fact that "religious belief was (being) utilized to render meaningless the rights of the non-members of the Iglesia ni Kristo to exercise the rights to be represented by a labor organization as the bargaining agent," and declared the petitioners as "not possessed of any legal personality to institute this present cause of action" since they were not parties to the petition for certification election.

The petitioners brought the matter up on appeal to the Bureau of Labor Relations. There they argued that the Med-Arbiter had "practically disenfranchised petitioners who had an overwhelming majority," and "the TUEU-OLALIA certified union cannot be legally said to have been the result of a valid election where at least fifty-one percent of all eligible voters in the appropriate bargaining unit shall have cast their votes." Assistant Labor Secretary Cresenciano B. Trajano, then Officer-in-Charge of the Bureau of Labor Relations, denied the appeal in his Decision of July 22, 1988. He opined that the petitioners are "bereft of legal personality to protest their alleged disenfrachisement" since they "are not constituted into a duly organized labor union, hence, not one of the unions which vied for certification as sole and exclusive bargaining representative." He also pointed out that the petitioners "did not participate in previous certification elections in the company for the reason that their religious beliefs do not allow them to form, join or assist labor organizations." It is this Decision of July 22, 1988 that the petitioners would have this Court annul and set aside in the present special civil action of certiorari. The Solicitor General having expressed concurrence with the position taken by the petitioners, public respondent NLRC was consequently required to file, and did thereafter file, its own comment on the petition. In that comment it insists that "if the workers who are members of the Iglesia ni Kristo in the exercise of their religious belief opted not to join any labor organization as a consequence of which they themselves can not have a bargaining representative, then the right to be representative by a bargaining agent should not be denied to other members of the bargaining unit." Guaranteed to all employees or workers is the "right to self-organization and to form, join, or assist labor organizations of their own choosing for purposes of collective bargaining." This is made plain

by no less than three provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines. 2 Article 243 of the Code
provides as follows: 3

ART. 243. Coverage and employees right to self-organization. All persons employed in commercial, industrial and agricultural enterprises and in religious, charitable, medical, or educational institutions whether operating for profit or not, shall have the right to self-organization and to form, join, or assist labor organizations of their own choosing for purposes or collective bargaining.Ambulant, intermittent and itinerant workers, self-employed people, rural workers and those without any definite employers may form labor organizations for their mutual aid and protection. Article 248 (a) declares it to be an unfair labor practice for an employer, among others, to "interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization." Similarly, Article 249 (a) makes it an unfair labor practice for a labor organization to "restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights to self-organization . . . " The same legal proposition is set out in the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code, as amended, as might be expected Section 1, Rule II (Registration of Unions), Book V (Labor Relations) of the Omnibus Rules provides as follows; 4 Sec. 1. Who may join unions; exception. All persons employed in commercial, industrial and agricultural enterprises, including employees of government corporations established under the Corporation Code as well as employees of religious, medical or educational institutions, whether operating for profit or not, except managerial employees, shall have the right to self-organization and to form, join or assist labor organizations for purposes of collective bargaining. Ambulant, intermittent and without any definite employers people, rural workers and those without any definite employers may form labor organizations for their mutual aid and protection. xxx xxx xxx The right of self-organization includes the right to organize or affiliate with a labor union or determine which of two or more unions in an establishment to join, and to engage in concerted activities with co-workers for purposes of collective bargaining through representatives of their own choosing, or for their mutual aid and protection, i.e., the protection, promotion, or enhancement of their rights and interests. 5 Logically, the right NOT to join, affiliate with, or assist any union, and to disaffiliate or resign from a labor organization, is subsumed in the right to join, affiliate with, or assist any union, and to maintain membership therein. The right to form or join a labor organization necessarily includes the right to refuse or refrain from exercising said right. It is self-evident that just as no one should be denied the exercise of a right granted by law, so also, no one should be compelled to exercise such a conferred right. The fact that a person has opted to acquire membership in a labor union does not preclude his subsequently opting to renounce such membership. 6 As early as 1974 this Court had occasion to expatiate on these self-evident propositions in Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union, et al., 7 viz.: . . .What the Constitution and Industrial Peace Act recognize and guarantee is the "right" to form or join associations. Notwithstanding the different theories propounded by the different schools of jurisprudence regarding the nature and contents of a

"right," it can be safely said that whatever theory one subscribes to, a right comprehends at least two broad notions, namely: first, liberty or freedom, i.e., the absence of legal restraint, whereby an employee may act for himself being prevented by law; second, power, whereby an employee may, as he pleases, join or refrain from joining an association. It is therefore the employee who should decide for himself whether he should join or not an association; and should he choose to join; and even after he has joined, he still retains the liberty and the power to leave and cancel his membership with said organization at any time (Pagkakaisa Samahang Manggagawa ng San Miguel Brewery vs. Enriquez, et al., 108 Phil. 1010, 1019). It is clear, therefore, that the right to join a union includes the right to abstain from joining any union (Abo, et al. vs. PHILAME [KG] Employees Union, et al., L-19912, January 20, 1965, 13 SCRA 120, 123, quoting Rothenberg, Labor Relations). Inasmuch as what both the Constitution and the Industrial Peace Act have recognized, the guaranteed to the employee, is the "right" to join associations of his choice, it would be absurd to say that the law also imposes, in the same breath, upon the employee the duty to join associations. The law does not enjoin an employee to sign up with any association. The right to refuse to join or be represented by any labor organization is recognized not only by law but also in the rules drawn up for implementation thereof. The original Rules on Certification promulgated by the defunct Court of Industrial Relations required that the ballots to be used at a certification election to determine which of two or more competing labor unions would represent the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit should contain, aside from the names of each union, an alternative choice of the employee voting, to the effect that he desires not to which of two or more competing labor unions would represent the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit should contain, aside from the names of each union, an alternative choice of the employee voting, to the effect that he desires not to be represented by any union. 8 And where only one union was involved, the ballots were
required to state the question "Do you desire to be represented by said union?" as regards which the employees voting would mark an appropriate square, one indicating the answer, "Yes" the other, "No."

To be sure, the present implementing rules no longer explicitly impose the requirement that the ballots at a certification election include a choice for "NO UNION" Section 8 (rule VI, Book V of the Omnibus Rules) entitled"Marketing and canvassing of votes," pertinently provides that: . . . (a) The voter must write a cross (X) or a check (/) in the square opposite the union of his choice. If only one union is involved, the voter shall make his cross or check in the square indicating "YES" or "NO." xxx xxx xxx Withal, neither the quoted provision nor any other in the Omnibus Implementing Rules expressly bars the inclusion of the choice of "NO UNION" in the ballots. Indeed it is doubtful if the employee's alternative right NOT to form, join or assist any labor organization or withdraw or resign from one may be validly eliminated and he be consequently coerced to vote for one or another of the competing unions and be represented by one of them. Besides, the statement in the quoted provision that "(i)f only one union is involved, the voter shall make his cross or check in the square indicating "YES" or "NO," is quite clear acknowledgment of the alternative possibility that the "NO" votes may outnumber the "YES" votes indicating that the majority of the employees in the company do not wish to be represented by any union in which case, no union can represent the employees in collective bargaining. And whether the prevailing "NO" votes are inspired by considerations of religious belief or discipline or not is beside the point, and may not be inquired into at all.

The purpose of a certification election is precisely the ascertainment of the wishes of the majority of the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit: to be or not to be represented by a labor organization, and in the affirmative case, by which particular labor organization. If the results of the election should disclose that the majority of the workers do not wish to be represented by any union, then their wishes must be respected, and no union may properly be certified as the exclusive representative of the workers in the bargaining unit in dealing with the employer regarding wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment. The minority employees who wish to have a union represent them in collective bargaining can do nothing but wait for another suitable occasion to petition for a certification election and hope that the results will be different. They may not and should not be permitted, however, to impose their will on the majority who do not desire to have a union certified as the exclusive workers' benefit in the bargaining unit upon the plea that they, the minority workers, are being denied the right of self-organization and collective bargaining. As repeatedly stated, the right of self-organization embraces not only the right to form, join or assist labor organizations, but the concomitant, converse right NOT to form, join or assist any labor union. That the INK employees, as employees in the same bargaining unit in the true sense of the term, do have the right of self-organization, is also in truth beyond question, as well as the fact that when they voted that the employees in their bargaining unit should be represented by "NO UNION," they were simply exercising that right of self-organization, albeit in its negative aspect. The respondents' argument that the petitioners are disqualified to vote because they "are not constituted into a duly organized labor union" "but members of the INK which prohibits its followers, on religious grounds, from joining or forming any labor organization" and "hence, not one of the unions which vied for certification as sole and exclusive bargaining representative," is specious. Neither law, administrative rule nor jurisprudence requires that only employees affiliated with any labor organization may take part in a certification election. On the contrary, the plainly discernible intendment of the law is to grant the right to vote to all bona fide employees in the bargaining unit, whether they are members of a labor organization or not. As held in Airtime Specialists, Inc. v. Ferrer-Calleja: 9 In a certification election all rank-and-file employees in the appropriate bargaining unit 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 the purpose 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 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". Neither does the contention that petitioners should be denied the right to vote because they "did not participate in previous certification elections in the company for the reason that their religious beliefs do not allow them to form, join or assist labor organizations," persuade acceptance. No law, administrative rule or precedent prescribes forfeiture of the right to vote by reason of neglect to exercise the right in past certification elections. In denying the petitioners' right to vote upon these egregiously fallacious grounds, the public respondents exercised their discretion whimsically, capriciously and oppressively and gravely abused the same.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is GRANTED; the Decision of the then Officer-in-Charge of the Bureau of Labor Relations dated December 21, 1987 (affirming the Order of the Med-Arbiter dated July 22, 1988) is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE; and the petitioners are DECLARED to have legally exercised their right to vote, and their ballots should be canvassed and, if validly and properly made out, counted and tallied for the choices written therein. Costs against private respondents. SO ORDERED.