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CASE: Sta. Lucia East Commercial Corporation (SLECC) vs. Hon.

Secretary of Labor and

Employment, et. al. GR No. 162355, August 14, 2009
SLECC and Affiliates Workers Union (SLECC-AWU), a chartered local union of the
Confederated Labor Unions of the Philippines (CLUP), filed a petition for certification election
before the BLR assigned to Mediator-Arbiter Anastacio Bactin. The petition was dismissed by
Med-Arbiter Bactin citing that CLUP-SLECCAWU was an inappropriate bargaining unit for not
being limited to rank and file employees. CLUP-SLECCAWU initially appealed but later on
withdrew their appeal.
CLUP-SLECCAWU reorganized itself as CLUP-SLECC Workers Association (CLUP-
SLECCWA), which limits membership to rank and file employees only. They claim to have
membership of at least 20% of the rank and file employees of SLECC. SLECC has already
previously acknowledged Samahang Manggagawa ng SLECC (SMSLECC) as the bargaining
unit in its CBA. However, SLECCWA and SMSLECC cover the same employees. CLUP-
SLECCWA filed a petition for certification election. They argue that the SMSLECC is not the
recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent of SLECC’s employees.
SLECC filed a motion to dismiss arguing that they have recognized that the exclusive
bargaining unit of their employees was SMSLEC in their CBA. The CBA was ratified by the
employees and registered with the DOLE. CLUP-SLECCWA countered the motion to dismiss
and assailed the validity of the voluntary recognition of the Company of SMSLECC. They claim
that the recognition and the consequent negotiation was tainted with collusion between
SMSLECC, DOLE and SLECC, including Med-Arbiter Bactin.
MED-ARBITER : MA Bactin ruled that SMSLEC is entitled to enjoy the rights, privileges,
and obligations of an exclusive bargaining representative from the time of the recording of the
voluntary recognition. Under the contract bar rule, the prior voluntary recognition of SMSLECC
bars the filing for direct certification of CLUP-SLECCWA.
DOLE : CLUP-SLECCWA appealed to the DOLE. The DOLE Secretary overturned the
decision of the Med-Arbiter saying that the predecessor of CLUP-SLECCWA (CLUP-
SLECCAWU) was an existing union at the time of the voluntary recognition of SMSLEC. Hence,
he ordered that a certification election be held. SLECC filed for a Motion for Reconsideration but
was denied.
CA : SLECC then filed a Petition for Certiorari before the CA. The CA affirmed the DOLE
Secretary’s Decision. CA ruled that SMSLECC was not the sole labor organization existing at
the time that they were voluntarily recognized by SLECC. SLECC then filed a Petition for
Review before the SC.
ISSUE: Was there an existing legitimate labor organization when SMSLECC was recognized by
The SC affirmed the CA’s Decision. SLECC cannot ignore that CLUP-SLECCAWU was
a legitimate labor organization at the time of SLECCs voluntary recognition of SMSLEC. SLECC
and SMSLEC cannot, by themselves, decide whether CLUP-SLECC and its Affiliates Workers
Union represented an appropriate bargaining unit. CLUP-SLECCAWU was a legitimate labor
organization representing an inappropriate bargaining unit. Thus, the CBA and the negotiations
entered into by SLECC and SMSLECC are void, because there exists a legitimate labor
organization at the time SMSLECC was voluntarily recognized.
The Court laid out the factors in determining whether a bargaining unit is appropriate: (1)
the will of the employees (Globe Doctrine); (2) affinity and unity of the employees interest, such
as substantial similarity of work and duties, or similarity of compensation and working conditions
(Substantial Mutual Interests Rule); (3) prior collective bargaining history; and (4) similarity of
employment status. The existence of a prior collective bargaining history is neither decisive nor
conclusive in the determination of what constitutes an appropriate bargaining unit.
As an obiter, the Court noted that SLECC was actively participating and intervening in
the certification election. This is highly unusual as the certification election should be solely
done by the employees.