Malayang Samahan ng Manggagawa sa M. Greenfield (MSMG-UWP) vs Ramos

 Malayang Samahan ng Manggagawa sa M. Greenfield (MSMG-UWP) vs Ramos

G.R. No. 113907

February 28, 2000

DOCTRINE: Dismissal of employees under the union security clause is authorized by law, but employees must be afforded their fundamental rights to due process. A local union has the right, at any time, to disaffiliate from a mother union or federation in accordance with its constitutional guarantee of freedom of association and the same cannot be considered disloyalty.


The CBA in this case includes, among others, the following pertinent provisions:

Article II-Union Security

SECTION 1. Coverage and Scope. — All employees who are covered by this Agreement and presently members of the UNION shall remain members of the UNION for the duration of this Agreement as a condition precedent to continued employment with the COMPANY.

SECTION 4. Dismissal. — Any such employee mentioned in Section 2 hereof, who fails to maintain his membership in the UNION for non-payment of UNION dues, for resignation and for violation of Union's Constitution and By-Laws and any new employee as defined in Section 2 of this Article shall upon written notice of such failure to join or to maintain membership in the UNION and upon written recommendation to the COMPANY by the UNION, be dismissed from the employment by the COMPANY; provided, however, that the UNION shall hold the COMPANY free and blameless from any and all liabilities that may arise should the dismissed employee question, in any manner, his dismissal; provided, further that the matter of the employee's dismissal under this Article may be submitted as a grievance under Article XIII and, provided, finally, that no such written recommendation shall be made upon the COMPANY nor shall COMPANY be compelled to act upon any such recommendation within the period of 60 days prior to the expiry date of this Agreement conformably to law."

Pursuant to the union security clause in the CBA, the dismissal of 30 union officers and employees was sought after being expelled from the federation. ULGWP (national federation) filed a Notice of Strike to compel the company to effect the immediate termination of the expelled union officers. Under the pressure of a threatened strike, the respondent company (RC) terminated the 30 union officers from employment. This provoked some of the members of the local union to demonstrate their protest for the dismissal of the said union officers. Some union members left their work posts and walked out of the company premises. ULGWP withdrew the Notice of Strike. MSMG (local union) filed a Notice of Strike and majority of its members voted to declare a strike.

Later, 78 union shop stewards were placed under preventive suspension by the RC, prompting MSMG members to again stage a walk-out and resulted in the official declaration of strike which was attended with violence, force and intimidation on both sides resulting to physical injuries to several employees, both striking and non-striking, and damage to company properties. The employees who participated in the strike and allegedly figured in the violent incident were placed under preventive suspension by the RC. RC also sent return to-work notices to the home addresses of the striking employees thrice successively. However, RC admitted that only 261 employees were eventually accepted back to work. Those who did not respond to the return-to-work notice were sent termination letters.  MSMG filed a complaint for ULP but was dismissed because as per the LA, the termination is valid in compliance with the union security clause.

Whether or not the RC was justified in dismissing MSMG members/employees merely upon ULGWP's demand for the enforcement of the union security clause embodied in their CBA.

NO. Although this Court has ruled that union security clauses embodied in the collective bargaining agreement may be validly enforced and that dismissals pursuant thereto may likewise be valid, this does not erode the fundamental requirement of due process. The reason behind the enforcement of union security clauses is the sanctity and inviolability of contracts cannot override one's right to due process. In this case, MSMG union officers were expelled by ULGWP for allegedly committing acts of disloyalty and/or inimical to the interest of the latter and in violation of its Constitution and By-laws. Upon demand of ULGWP, the company terminated the petitioners without conducting a separate and independent investigation. RC did not inquire into the cause of the expulsion and whether or not ULGWP had sufficient grounds to effect the same. The enforcement of union security clauses is authorized by law provided such enforcement is not characterized by arbitrariness, and always with due process. Even on the assumption that the federation had valid grounds to expel the union officers, due process requires that these union officers be accorded a separate hearing by RC.

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