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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Right of the Labor Union to Represent Its Members

It is the function precisely of a labor union such as petitioner to carry the representation of its members particularly against the employer's labor practices against it and its members. It can file an action for their benefit and behalf without joining them and to avoid the cumbersome procedure of joining each and every member as a separate party under Rule 3, Section 3 of the Rules of Court. (Davao Free Workers Front vs. CIR, 60 SCRA 408 [1974])

In Liberty Manufacturing Workers Union vs. Court of First Instance, the Court reiterated the view that a labor union has the requisite personality to sue on behalf of its members for their individual money claims. It would be an unwarranted impairment of the right to self-organization through formation of labor organizations if thereafter such collective entities would be barred from instituting action in their representative capacity. (La Carlota Sugar Central vs. Court of Industrial Relations, 64 SCRA 78 [1975])

Compromise agreements between employer and employees are valid only when made in good faith. The Union and its attorney should be allowed to participate in the making of compromise settlements with employees. In one case, petitioner Company was adjudged to have acted with evident bad faith and malice when it secured the 53 quitclaim agreements individually with the 53 sugar workers without the intervention of court. This subterfuge is tantamount to a sabotage of the interest of respondent association. Needless to say, the means employed by petitioner in dealing with the workers individually, instead of collectively through respondent and its counsel, violates good morale as they undermine the unity of respondent union and fuels industrial disputes, contrary to the declared policy in the Industrial Peace Act. (Pampanga Sugar Development Co., Inc. vs. CIR, 114 SCRA 725 [1982])

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