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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Who are covered the employees’ right to self-organization?

The Labor Code of the Philippines, Article 243, provides thus:
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 of 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.
Consistent with the Constitutional mandate, Article 243 of the Code allows “all persons employed in commercial, industrial and agricultural enterprises” to form, join or assist labor organizations of their own choosing for purposes of collective bargaining.

The right is extended even to those employed in traditionally non-profit organizations like religious, charitable, medical or educational institutions.  This extension of the right departs from the policy under the old Industrial Peace Act (R.A. No. 875) which withheld the right to organize from employees of non-profit firms.

But the seemingly all-inclusive coverage of “all persons” in Article 243 actually admits of exceptions. 

Under Art. 244, for instance, all employees in the civil service, that is, those not employed in government corporations established under the Corporation Code, may only form associations but may not collectively bargain on employment terms and conditions fixed by law.

Similarly, under Art. 245, managerial employees, regardless of the kind of organization where they are employed, may not join, assist or form any labor organization.

Accordingly, managerial employees cannot, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, be allowed to share in the concessions obtained by the labor union through collective negotiation.  Otherwise, they would be exposed to the temptation of colluding with the union during the negotiations to the detriment of the employer. (Martinez vs. NLRC, GMCR Inc. and M.A. Javier, G.R. No. 118743, October 12, 1998)

However, there is nothing to prevent the employer from granting benefits to managerial employees equal to or higher than those afforded to union members.

Supervisors are allowed to organize, but they cannot form, join or assist a rank-and-file union.

More exceptions to the right to organize can be found in court decisions, however.

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