Legitimate labor organizations

1. Summary

▪ Legitimate labor organizations refer to labor organizations that registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

▪ A labor organization generally has two (2) rights, namely: (a) the right to collective bargaining; and (b) the right to deal with the employer.

2. Concept

Legitimate labor organizations refer to labor organizations that registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

a. Legitimate labor organizations v. bargaining unit

The concepts of a union and of a legitimate labor organization are different from, but related to, the concept of a bargaining unit. (Holy Child Catholic School v. Sto. Tomas, En Banc, G.R. No. 179146, 23 July 2013)

Article 212(g) of the Labor Code defines a labor organization as “any union or association of employees which exists in whole or in part for the purpose of collective bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning terms and conditions of employment.” Upon compliance with all the documentary requirements, the Regional Office or Bureau shall issue in favor of the applicant labor organization a certificate indicating that it is included in the roster of legitimate labor organizations. Any applicant labor organization shall acquire legal personality and shall be entitled to the rights and privileges granted by law to legitimate labor organizations upon issuance of the certificate of registration. (Sta. Lucia East Commercial Corporation, v. Secretary of Labor and Employment, G.R. No. 162355, August 14, 2009)

On the other hand, a bargaining unit has been defined as a “group of employees of a given employer, comprised of all or less than all of the entire body of employees, which the collective interests of all the employees, consistent with equity to the employer, indicated to be best suited to serve reciprocal rights and duties of the parties under the collective bargaining provisions of the law.” (Holy Child Catholic School v. Sto. Tomas, supra.)

A bargaining unit is a group of employees sought to be represented by a petitioning union. Such employees need not be members of a union seeking the conduct of a certification election. A union certified as an exclusive bargaining agent represents not only its members but also other employees who are not union members. (Ibid.)

3. Registration

a. Requirements of Registration

A federation, national union or industry or trade union center or an independent union shall acquire legal personality and shall be entitled to the rights and privileges granted by law to legitimate labor organizations upon issuance of the certificate of registration based on the following requirements:

1) Fifty pesos (P50.00) registration fee;

2) The names of its officers, their addresses, the principal address of the labor organization, the minutes of the organizational meetings and the list of the workers who participated in such meetings;

3) In case the applicant is an independent union, the names of all its members comprising at least twenty percent (20%) of all the employees in the bargaining unit where it seeks to operate;

4) If the applicant union has been in existence for one or more years, copies of its annual financial reports; and,

5) Four copies of the constitution and by-laws of the applicant union, minutes of its adoption or ratification, and the list of the members who participated in it. (Article 240, P.D. 442, Labor Code)

b. Chartering and Creation of a Local Chapter

A duly registered federation or national union may directly create a local chapter by issuing a charter certificate indicating the establishment of the local chapter. The chapter

shall acquire legal personality only for purposes of filing a petition for certification election from the date it was issued a charter certificate. (Article 241, Ibid.)

The chapter shall be entitled to all other rights and privileges of a legitimate labor organization only upon the submission of the following documents in addition to its charter certificate:

1) The names of the chapter’s officers, their addresses, and the principal office of the chapter; and,

2) The chapter’s constitution and by-laws: Provided, That where the chapter’s constitution and by-laws are the same as that of the federation or the national union, this fact shall be indicated accordingly. (Paragraph 2, Article 241, Ibid.)

The additional supporting requirements shall be certified under oath by the secretary or treasurer of the chapter and attested by its president. (Paragraph 3, Article 241, Ibid.)

c. Action on Application

The Bureau shall act on all applications for registration within thirty (30) days from filing.

All requisite documents and papers shall be certified under oath by the secretary or the treasurer of the organization, as the case may be, and attested to by its president. (Article 242, Ibid.)

d. Denial of Registration; Appeal

The decision of the Labor Relations Division in the regional office denying registration may be appealed by the applicant union to the Bureau within ten (10) days from receipt of notice thereof. (Article 243, Ibid.)

e. Additional Requirements for Federations or National Unions

Subject to Article 238,185 if the applicant for registration is a federation or a national union, it shall, in addition to the requirements of the preceding Articles, submit the following:

1) Proof of the affiliation of at least ten (10) locals or chapters, each of which must be a duly recognized collective bargaining agent in the establishment or industry in which it operates, supporting the registration of such applicant federation or national union; and,

2) The names and addresses of the companies where the locals or chapters operate and the list of all the members in each company involved. (Article 244, Ibid.)

4. Cancellation of Registration

The certificate of registration of any legitimate labor organization, whether national or local, may be cancelled by the Bureau, after due hearing, only on the grounds specified in Article 239 hereof. (Article 245, Ibid.)

a. Effect of a Petition for Cancellation of Registration

A petition for cancellation of union registration shall not suspend the proceedings for certification election nor shall it prevent the filing of a petition for certification election.

In case of cancellation, nothing herein shall restrict the right of the union to seek just and equitable remedies in the appropriate courts. (Article 246, Ibid.)

b. Grounds for Cancellation of Union Registration

The following may constitute grounds for cancellation of union registration:

1) Misrepresentation, false statement or fraud in connection with the adoption or ratification of the constitution and by-laws or amendments thereto, the minutes of ratification, and the list of members who took part in the ratification;

2) Misrepresentation, false statements or fraud in connection with the election of officers, minutes of the election of officers, and the list of voters;

3) Voluntary dissolution by the members. (Article 247, Ibid.)

c. Voluntary Cancellation of Registration

The registration of a legitimate labor organization may be cancelled by the organization itself: Provided, That at least two-thirds of its general membership votes, in a meeting duly called for that purpose to dissolve the organization: Provided, further, That an application to cancel registration is thereafter submitted by the board of the organization, attested to by the president thereof. (Article 248, Ibid.)

d. Equity of the Incumbent

All existing federations and national unions which meet the qualifications of a legitimate labor organization and none of the grounds for cancellation shall continue to maintain their existing affiliates regardless of the nature of the industry and the location of the affiliates. (Article 249, Ibid.)

5. Rights of legitimate labor organizations

A legitimate labor organization shall have the right:

1) To act as the representative of its members for the purpose of collective bargaining;

2) To be certified as the exclusive representative of all the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit for purposes of collective bargaining;

3) To be furnished by the employer, upon written request, with its annual audited financial statements, including the balance sheet and the profit and loss statement, within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of receipt of the request, after the union has been duly recognized by the employer or certified as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of the employees in the bargaining unit, or within sixty (60) calendar days before the expiration of the existing collective bargaining agreement, or during the collective bargaining negotiation;

4) To own property, real or personal, for the use and benefit of the labor organization and its members;

5) To sue and be sued in its registered name; and,

6) To undertake all other activities designed to benefit the organization and its members, including cooperative, housing, welfare and other projects not contrary to law.

Notwithstanding any provision of a general or special law to the contrary, the income and the properties of legitimate labor organizations, including grants, endowments, gifts, donations and contributions they may receive from fraternal and similar organizations, local or foreign, which are actually, directly and exclusively used for their lawful purposes, shall be free from taxes, duties and other assessments. The exemptions provided herein may be withdrawn only by a special law expressly repealing this provision. (Article 251, P.D. 442, Labor Code)

a. Reportorial Requirements

The following are documents required to be submitted to the Bureau by the legitimate labor organization concerned:

1) Its constitution and by-laws, or amendments thereto, the minutes of ratification, and the list of members who took part in the ratification of the constitution and by-laws within thirty (30) days from adoption or ratification of the constitution and by-laws or amendments thereto;

2) Its list of officers, minutes of the election of officers, and list of voters within thirty (30) days from election;

3) Its annual financial report within thirty (30) days after the close of every fiscal year; and,

4) Its list of members at least once a year or whenever required by the Bureau of Labor Relations. (Article 252, Ibid.)

Failure to comply with the above requirements shall not be a ground for cancellation of union registration but shall subject the erring officers or members to suspension, expulsion from membership, or any appropriate penalty. (Paragraph 2, Article 252, 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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