Certification election

Summary

▪ The certification election determines who will be the sole and exclusive bargaining agent in an organized establishment, particularly if there is more than one (1) legitimate labor organization.

▪ A legitimate labor organization may file a petition for certification election to be certified as the exclusive bargaining agent.

▪ The employer may also file a petition for certification election and thereafter be considered as a bystander or a non-party.

1. Concept

Certification election is a process of determining through secret ballot the sole and exclusive bargaining agent (SEBA) of all the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit for the purpose of collective bargaining. (Certification Election, DOLE – Bureau of Labor Relations Official Website, https://blr.dole.gov.ph/2014/12/11/certification-election/, last accessed 07 March 2022)

2. Petition

a. Representation Issue in Organized Establishments

In organized establishments, when a verified petition questioning the majority status of the incumbent bargaining agent is filed by any legitimate labor organization including a national union or federation which has already issued a charter certificate to its local chapter participating in the certification election or a local chapter which has been issued a charter certificate by the national union or federation before the Department of Labor and Employment within the sixty (60)-day period before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement, the Med-Arbiter shall automatically order an election by secret ballot when the verified petition is supported by the written consent of at least twenty-five percent (25%) of all the employees in the bargaining unit to ascertain the will of the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit. (Article 268, Ibid.)

To have a valid election, at least a majority of all eligible voters in the unit must have cast their votes. The labor union receiving the majority of the valid votes cast shall be certified as the exclusive bargaining agent of all the workers in the unit. (Ibid.)

When an election which provides for three or more choices results in no choice receiving a majority of the valid votes cast, a run-off election shall be conducted between the labor unions receiving the two highest number of votes: Provided, That the total number of votes for all contending unions is at least fifty percent (50%) of the number of votes cast. (Ibid.)

In cases where the petition was filed by a national union or federation, it shall not be required to disclose the names of the local chapter’s officers and members. (Ibid.)

At the expiration of the freedom period, the employer shall continue to recognize the majority status of the incumbent bargaining agent where no petition for certification election is filed. (Ibid.)

b. Petitions in Unorganized Establishments

In any establishment where there is no certified bargaining agent, a certification election shall automatically be conducted by the Med-Arbiter upon the filing of a petition by any legitimate labor organization, including a national union or federation which has already issued a charter certificate to its local/chapter participating in the certification election or a local/chapter which has been issued a charter certificate by the national union or federation. In cases where the petition was filed by a national union or federation, it shall not be required to disclose the names of the local chapter’s officers and members. (Article 269, Ibid.)

3. Employer’s role

a. When an Employer May File Petition

When requested to bargain collectively, an employer may petition the Bureau of Labor Relations (“Bureau”) for an election. If there is no existing certified collective bargaining agreement in the unit, the Bureau shall, after hearing, order a certification election. (Article 270, Ibid.)

All certification cases shall be decided within twenty (20) working days. (Ibid.)

The Bureau shall conduct a certification election within twenty (20) days in accordance with the rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Labor. (Ibid.)

b. Employer as Bystander

In all cases, whether the petition for certification election is filed by an employer or a legitimate labor organization, the employer shall not be considered a party thereto with a concomitant right to oppose a in such proceedings shall be limited to:

1) Being notified or informed of petitions of such nature; and,

2) Submitting the list of employees during the pre-election conference should the Med-Arbiter act favorably on the petition. (Article 271, Ibid.)

4. Appeal from Certification Election Orders

Any party to an election may appeal the order or results of the election as determined by the Med-Arbiter directly to the Secretary of Labor and Employment on the ground that the rules and regulations or parts thereof established by the Secretary of Labor and Employment for the conduct of the election have been violated. Such appeal shall be decided within fifteen (15) calendar days. (Article 272, Ibid.)

References

Presidential Decree No. 442, Labor Code of the Philippines

DOLE Department Order No. 40, Series of 2003

DOLE Department Order No. 40-A-I, Series of 2003

DOLE Department Order No. 40-B, Series of 2003

DOLE Department Order No. 40-C, Series of 2004

DOLE Department Order No. 40-D, Series of 2005

DOLE Department Order No. 40-F-3, Series of 2008

DOLE Department Order No. 40-G-03, Series of 2010

DOLE Department Order No. 40-I, Series of 2015

DOLE Department Order No. 15, Series of 2015

▪ Jurisprudence or Supreme Court Decisions (as cited above)

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Disclaimer: All information is for educational and general information only. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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