Today February 9, 2009, 129 workers were refused entry by the Goldilocks management. The workers were informed yesterday regarding the latest decision of the NLRC (National Labor Relations Commission) affirming their dismissal.
In turn, the workers staged a picket outside the Goldilocks Plant in Mandaluyong to protest and condemn the unjust decision.
Four years ago, the workers participated in a PCE (Petition for Certification Elections) held in February 28, 2006 as a result of the sixty (60) days freedom period after the 5-year Collective Bargaining agreement covering March 1, 2001 to February 28, 2006 between Goldilocks Bakeshop Inc., and Buklod ng mga Manggagawa sa Goldilocks Bakeshop (BUKLOD) expired. Separate petitions were filed by three groups, namely; KMG-KMM-Katipunan (Kilusan ng mga Manggagawa sa Goldilocks-Kilusan ng mga Manggagawang Makabayan), Bukluran ng Independyenteng Samahan na Itinatag sa Goldilocks (BISIG) and Obrero Pilipino-Goldilocks Employees Association (Obrero-GOLDEA).Being the incumbent union, BUKLOD was considered as forced intervenor for being the incumbent union.
It was a rough sailing for the workers since the management in collusion with the incumbent union (BUKLOD) questioned the petition filed by Obrero-GOLDEA. On the other hand, BUKLOD, filed a petition to cancel BISIG’s certificate of registration.
On May 10, 2006, DOLE-NCR Med-Arbiter Catherine Z. Licaros issued an order directing the conduct of certification of election. In response to the decision, both BUKLOD and Obrero appealed the decision and argued that BISIG and KMG-KMM-Katipunan should be excluded as among the choices in the certification election.
But a resolution was released in September 11, 2006 issued by Undersecretary Luzviminda Padilla dismissing the appeal. Subsequently, an entry of judgment was issued on November 14, 2006 by the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR) Director Rebecca Chato. The Certification election was finally conducted on March 19, 2007 with the following results;
Because no union garnered the fifty percent plus one (50% plus 1) ruling in the certification election between BUKLOD and BISIG and after hearings on the manifestation, run-off election was scheduled on August 6, 2007 and the result was;
Total Votes: 1,657
Buklod filed a protest in the run-off election and manifested that the segregated ballot must be counted.
On March 17, 2008, seven months later, BISIG was certified as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of rank and file employees thru the decision issued by Med-Arbiter Atty. Alma Magdaraog-Alma. The decision was appealed by BUKLOD before the office of the Secretary;
Surprisingly on April 10, 2008, the Court of Appeals reinstated the August 11, 2006 Resolution of the then Bureau of Labor Relation OIC-Director Henry Parel delisting BISIG from the roster of legitimate labor organizations. BISIG in turn, immediately filed a motion for reconsideration.
On April 16, 2008, BISIG sent a letter to the Goldilocks Management requesting the latter to commence the collective bargaining negotiation but the management ignored the said letter request. BISIG filed a (NOS) Notice of Strike on April 24, 2008 on the issue of discrimination, harassments and other related issues.
On May 20,2008, the Goldilocks company responded by filing a petition for assumption jurisdiction or Certification for Compulsory Arbitration for the (NOS) Notice of Strike of BISIG dated April 24, 2008. Undersecretary Lourdes Transmonte, then acting Secretary issued a Certificate Order dated May 26, 2008 certifying the labor dispute to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for compulsory arbitration. The said order was received by BISIG on May 29, 2008.
The conciliation before the NCMB (National Conciliation And Mediation Board, both the Goldilocks Bakeshop Inc representative and BISIG leaders entered into agreement dated June 11, 2008 and agreed to await the office of the (BLR)- Office of the Sec (Osec) will undertake in conjunction with the labor dispute at bench specifically, the issue on Certification election. Additionally, the Union hereby withdraws the instant labor dispute for the sake of industrial peace”.
Days earlier prior to conciliation, BISIG affiliated to AGLO (Association of Genuine Labor Organization) and on June 12, 2008, the Department of Labor and Employment-National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) issued Certificate of Creation of Local Chapter with Certification No PFC-028-2008-CC.
On June 16, 2008, BISIG filed its manifestation with motion to dismiss before the NLRC, praying that the certified case be dismissed in view of BISIG’s withdrawal of its Notice of Strike dated April 24, 2008.
On July 1, 2008, BISIG filed another NOS (Notice of Strike) on the following grounds; 1.Unfair labor practice, 2. Union Busting and other related cases.
On July 8, 2008, Undersecretary Romeo Lagman, by authority of the Secretary, issued a Resolution affirming BISIG’s certification as an exclusive bargaining representative of Goldilocks Bakeshop Inc., rank and file workers and employees.
On July 11, 2008, the management filed its Manifestation with Motion to Subsume before the Office of DOLE Secretary.
On October 13, 2008, three months later, BISIG filed its third Notice of Strike, this time around the grounds were as follows; 1. Unfair labor practice (Refusal to Bargain Collectively) 2. Illegal Suspension, 3. Unjust transfer of Goldilocks SM Cubao Branch to Provinces, 4. Discrimination (selective P13.00 wage increase) and others.
On October 31, 2008, DOLE Secretary Mariano Roque certified the October 13, 2008 BISIG Notice of Strike to Compulsory Arbitration before the NLRC;
The certified Notice of Strike (NOS) was raffled to NLRC Sixth Division composed of Commissioner Nieves Vivar-de Castro (ponente), Commissioner Benedicto R. Palacol (Presiding Commissioner) and Commissioner Isabel G. Panganiban-Ortiguera.
On May 28, 2009, almost seven months later, the NLRC came up with the decision penned by Commissioner Nieves Vivar-de Castro on the issues contained in the Notice of Strike. The decision was promulgated as follows;
1. Ordering Goldilocks to commence collective bargaining negotiation with BUKLOD (the losing union in the certification election)- this is a blatant disregard of what is the rule of law negating the existence of a duly certified bargaining agent, the BISIG-AGLO.
2. Sustaining the legality of the penalty of suspension on Wilson Dy and six other officers, leaders and members of BISIG-AGLO.- this is an outright non recognition of the violations incurred by the Goldilocks Management.
3. Declaring Joel Lachica and four (4) others to have been validly dismissed from employment- affirming the Management not guilty of unfair labor practice.
4. Declaring the demonstration and picketing of more than 120 workers and employees after office hours and eight hours work conducted on May 20 and 27, 2008 to be illegal strike and imposing the following penalties;
a. For having participated in the illegal strikes, the 17 Union officers and Board members are deemed to have lost their employment.
b. For having committed illegal activities during illegal strikes, the one hundred four (104) Union members are deemed terminated from employment.
c. Ordering Goldilocks to grant financial assistance to the terminated Union members only in an amount equivalent to half month pay per year of service as a measure of social justice.
The decision that was promulgated was unusually hand carried by an NLRC employee a day after the promulgation effected last May 27, 2009 to the office of Miralles and Associates Law Office, a far cry from the NLRC tradition where decisions are being sent thru registered mail.
Another questionable decision made was on the case of illegal strike. To where did the NLRC apply an illegal strike when no strike ever took place. Indeed, there were 3 attempts on the Notices of Strike but all these were assumed jurisdiction by the office of the Secretary thereby averting the supposed strike to take place. Only in the Philippines where you exercise your freedom to picket during break time but now constitute as an illegal strike. A “brilliant” decision penned by an equally brilliant commissioner in the person of Commissioner Nieves De Castro.
Yesterday, February 8, 2010, for over eight months now, the NLRC gave its final blow and reaffirmed the dismissal of the 129 union members of the BISIG Labor Union. This time, the decision focused on the illegality of the strike that became the basis of the dismissal. A strike that never took place.
2010 would be a bleak picture for the 129 families of Goldilocks workers and employees. This is the grim reality of our previous slogan, “Goldilocks tumitiba, Manggagawa kinakawawa”. We want to let the whole world know that the Goldilocks Company continues to grow but not their workers.
Our plight is totally unthinkable, the rule of law applies only to those who have power and money and not to people like ours. In our case, there’s no truth on the saying that for those who have less in life should enjoy more in law.
We are deeply saddened of our situation and to our family, our children and our future. There are companies in the Philippines like Goldilocks. We don’t want our case to become a precedent that would be detrimental to other workers and their families.
Please join us in our crusade to fight not only to ourselves but to the Filipino workers. We welcome your support in our struggle. We still do not lose hope. We will continue our fight in all fronts. In turn, we are seeking your support in whatever way you can. These are the ways where you can be of help;
1. Giving material and financial support to our campaign. (We will later provide details of our bank account)
2. You should think twice eating in Goldilocks branches/outlets. The more you patronize the more you support greedy capitalists.
3. Inform all your relatives, friends here in the Philippines and abroad not to patronize anymore Goldilocks. Always remember our slogan, “Goldilocks tumitiba, Manggagawa kinakawawa”.
4. If you cannot avoid eating in their outlets, at least minimize your patronage.
5. Petition all scrupulous and corrupt government officials in the mold of Commissioners De Castro, Ortiguera and Palacol.
6. Support and join our protest activities.
7. Write protest letters to DOLE, NLRC and related government offices and institution and to the Goldilocks management through their branches and offices. You can directly mail your letter or personally deliver your letter to Goldilocks outlets/branches.
8. Propagate our issue and enjoin everyone to become supporters of Goldilocks workers.
In the pursuit of justice for the Filipino workers,
129 dismissed Goldilocks workers and employees