J. Grievance machinery

Frequency: ★☆☆☆☆

1. GRIEVANCE MACHINERY

Grievance machinery procedure. The parties to a Collective Bargaining Agreement shall include therein provisions that will ensure the mutual observance of its terms and conditions. They shall establish a machinery for the adjustment and resolution of grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of their Collective Bargaining Agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies. (Article 273, Labor Code),

Maneja v. NLRC, Manila Midtown Hotel (June 1998)
… Article 217 (c) should be read in conjunction with Article 261 of the Labor Code which grants to voluntary arbitrators original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide all unresolved grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of the collective bargaining agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personel policies. Note the phrase “unresolved grievances.” In the case at bar, the termination of petitioner is not an unresolved grievance.
The stance of the Solicitor General in the Sanyo case is totally the reverse of its posture in the case at bar. In Sanyo, the Solicitor General was of the view that a distinction should be made between a case involving “interpretation or implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreement” or interpretation or “enforcement” of company personel policies, on the one hand and a case involving termination, on the other hand. It argued that the dismissal of the private respondents does not involve an “interpretation or implementation” of a Collective Bargaining Agreement or “interpretation or enforcement” of company personel policies but involves “termination.” The Solicitor General further said that where the dispute is just in the interpretation, implementation or enforcement stage, it may be referred to the grievance machinery set up the Collective Bargaining Agreement or by voluntary arbitration. Where there was already actual termination, i.e., violation of rights, it is already cognizable by the Labor Arbiter. We fully agree with the theory of the Solicitor General in the Sanyo case, which is radically apposite to its position in this case.
Moreover, the dismissal of petitioner does not fall within the phrase “grievance arising from the interpretation or implementation of collective bargaining agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personel policies,” the jurisdiction of which pertains to the grievance machinery or thereafter, to a voluntary arbitrator or panel of voluntary arbitrators. It is to be stressed that under Article 260 of the Labor Code, which explains the function of the grievance machinery and voluntary arbitrator. “(T)he parties to a Collective Bargaining Agreement shall include therein provisions that will ensure the mutual observance of its terms and conditions. They shall establish a machinery for the adjustment and resolution of grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of their Collective Bargaining Agreement and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personel policies.” Article 260 further provides that the parties to a CBA shall name or designate their respective representative to the grievance machinery and if the grievance is unsettled in that level, it shall automatically be refered to the voluntary arbitrators designated in advance by the parties to a CBA of the union and the company. It can thus be deduced that only disputes involving the union and the company shall be referred to the grievance machinery or voluntary arbitrators.
In the case at bar, the union does not come into the picture, not having objected or voiced any dissent to the dismissal of the herein petitioner. The reason for this, according to petitioner is that “the practice in said Hotel in cases of termination is that the latter cases are not referred anymore to the grievance committee;” and that “the terminated employee who wishes to question the legality of his termination usually goes to the Labor Arbiter for arbitration, whether the termination arose from the interpretation or enforcement of the company personnel policies or otherwise.”
As we ruled in Sanyo, “Since there has been an actual termination, the matter falls within the jurisdiction of the labor Arbiter.” The aforequoted doctrine is applicable foursquare in petitioner’s case. The dismissal of the petitioner does not call for the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies but is a termination dispute which comes under the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter.
It should be explained that “company personel policies” are guiding priciples stated in broad, long-range terms that express the philosophy or beliefs of an organization’s top authority regarding personnel matters. They deal with matters affecting efficiency and well-being of employees and include, among others, the procedure in the administration of wages, benefits, promotions, transfer and other personnel movements which are usually not spelled out in the collective agreement. The usual source of grievances, however, are the rules and regulations governing disciplinary actions.

When automatically endorsed to voluntary arbitration. All grievances submitted to the grievance machinery which are not settled within seven (7) calendar days from the date of its submission shall automatically be referred to voluntary arbitration prescribed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. (Paragraph 2, Article 273, Ibid.)

Appointment of voluntary arbitrators. For this purpose, parties to a Collective Bargaining Agreement shall name and designate in advance a Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators, or include in the agreement a procedure for the selection of such Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators, preferably from the listing of qualified Voluntary Arbitrators duly accredited by the Board. In case the parties fail to select a Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators, the Board shall designate the Voluntary Arbitrator or panel of Voluntary Arbitrators, as may be necessary, pursuant to the selection procedure agreed upon in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which shall act with the same force and effect as if the Arbitrator or panel of Arbitrators have been selected by the parties as described above. (Paragraph 3, Article 273, Ibid.)

Same; Original and exclusive jurisdiction. Under the Labor Code, voluntary arbitrators have original and exclusive jurisdiction over matters which have not been resolved by the grievance machinery. (Santuyo v. Remerco Garments Manufacturing, Inc., G.R. No. 174420, 22 March 2010

2. BINDING ON ALL PARTIES

It is settled that when the parties have validly agreed on a procedure for resolving grievances and to submit a dispute to voluntary arbitration then that procedure should be strictly observed. (Ace Navigation Co., Inc. v. Fernandez, G.R. No. 197309, 10 October 2012)

Landtex Industries v. CA, Ayson (August 2007)
We find nothing in the records which shows that the meetings between the union and Landtex already constitute the grievance machinery as mandated by the CBA. The meetings happened only after the effectivity of Ayson’s termination. The meetings did not comply with the requisite number of participants. The CBA mandated that there should be three representatives each from the union and Landtex but there were seven union members and two Landtex representatives who attended the meetings. More importantly, there was nothing in the minutes that shows that the attendees constituted a Management-Employee Committee.

Under Article 260 of the Labor Code, grievances arising from the interpretation or implementation of the parties’ CBA should be resolved in accordance with the grievance procedure embodied therein. It also provides that all unsettled grievances shall be automatically referred for voluntary arbitration as prescribed in the CBA. (Octavio v. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, G.R. No. 175492, 27 February 2013

Octavio v. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (February 2013)
It is settled that “when parties have validly agreed on a procedure for resolving grievances and to submit a dispute to voluntary arbitration then that procedure should be strictly observed.” Moreover, we have held time and again that “before a party is allowed to seek the intervention of the court, it is a precondition that he should have availed of all the means of administrative processes afforded him. Hence, if a remedy within the administrative machinery can still be resorted to by giving the administrative officer concerned every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction, then such remedy should be exhausted first before the court’s judicial power can be sought. The premature invocation of the court’s judicial intervention is fatal to one’s cause of action.” “The underlying principle of the rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies rests on the presumption that when the administrative body, or grievance machinery, is afforded a chance to pass upon the matter, it will decide the same correctly.”
Visayan Electric Company Employees Union-ALU-TUCP v. Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (July 2015)
Section 4, Article XVII of the CBA states that “(a)ny difference of opinion, controversy, dispute problem or complaint arising from Company-Union or Company-Worker relations concerning the interpretation or application of this Agreement or regarding any matter affecting Company-Union or Company-Worker relations shall be considered a grievance.” On the other hand, under Section 13, Article XIV, “(t)he Company agrees that henceforth there shall be a fair and uniform application of its rules and regulations. It is understood that disciplinary actions imposed on employee or laborer shall be governed by the rules and regulations promulgated by the Company as well as those provided for by existing laws on the matter.”
The Court is in accord with the ratiocination of the NLRC that the sweeping statement “any matter affecting Company-Union or Company-Worker relations shall be considered a grievance” under Section 4, Article XVII is general, as opposed to Section 13, Article XIV of the CBA, which is specific, as it precisely refers to “what governs employee disciplinary actions.” Thus, the NLRC correctly ruled that VECO acted within the bounds of law when it proceeded with its administrative investigation of the charges against other union officers and members.
This is consistent with jurisprudential rulings supporting an employer’s free reign and “wide latitude of discretion to regulate all aspects of employment, including the prerogative to instill discipline in its employees and to impose penalties, including dismissal, upon erring employees. This is management prerogative, where the free will of management to conduct its own affairs to achieve its purpose takes form. The only criterion to guide the exercise of its management prerogative is that the policies, rules[,] and regulations on work-related activities of the employees must always be fair and reasonable[,] and the corresponding penalties, when prescribed, are commensurate to the offense involved and to the degree of the infraction.” The Labor Code does not excuse employees from complying with valid company policies and reasonable regulations for their governance and guidance.
x x x
Mahilum’s attempt to rationalize his act as part of his “moral, legal or social duty xx x to make known his legitimate perception” against VECO does not, in any way, detract from the indubitable fact that he intentionally, knowingly, and purposely caused the aforequoted “disparaging publication.” Neither can he hide behind the claim that the press release was simply “an expression of a valid grievance.” As the NLRC aptly pointed out, “(i)nstead of him and the rest of the union officers bringing their sentiments and/or grievances against the management to the proper forum, they intentionally, knowingly and purposefully breached their employer’s trust, by issuing x x x derogatory statements and causing their publication, apparently, to incite public condemnation against the latter.” It bears noting that, while petitioners harp on the refusal of VECO to follow the grievance machinery procedure under the CBA, they conveniently forgot that they themselves shunned the very procedure to which they now hang by a thread.

Disclaimer: All information herein is for educational and general information only intended for those preparing for the bar exam. 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.

Share:

Mock Bar Exam Schedules

Test your knowledge. Practice answering questions, repeatedly and continuously — that’s how you prepare for the bar exam. Don’t mindlessly read throughout your bar exam review and expect you can effectively answer during your bar exam.

Mock Bar Exam: Civil Law I

The Mock Bar Exam (MBE) for Labor Law will simulate previous bar exam questions, including the time limit. The objective

Related: Labor Law

E. Floating status

Frequency: ★☆☆☆☆ 1. Bona fide suspension of business operation/undertaking ART. 301 [286]. When Employment Not Deemed Terminated. – The bona

B. GSIS Law

Frequency: ★☆☆☆☆ 1. COVERAGE AND EXCLUSIONS a. Compulsory coverage Employers of employees compulsorily covered by the SSS. These shall include

A. Right to self-organization

Frequency: ★★★★☆ 1. Who may join, form, or assist labor organizations or workers’ associations Coverage. – All persons employed —

Feedback

We value feedback.
Help us improve by with your suggestions and comments.
Thank you in advance

Syllabus-based

Reviewers

I. Eminent Domain

Frequency: ★★★☆☆ 1. Concept Concept: Eminent domain. Eminent domain – is the power of the State to take private property

D. Quasi-Contracts

Certain lawful, voluntary and unilateral acts give rise to the juridical relation of quasi-contract to the end that no one

A. Right to self-organization

Frequency: ★★★★☆ 1. Who may join, form, or assist labor organizations or workers’ associations Coverage. – All persons employed —

Updated

Suggested Answers

error: Content is protected.