Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Labor Dispute at Wesleyan University-Philippines

Fact Sheet and Timeline

Parties to the dispute: Wesleyan University-Philippines owned by the United Methodist Church of the Philippines and located at Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija (a provincial city to the north of Metro Manila). Wesleyan University-Philippines Faculty and Staff Association (WUPFSA-LAGMAN). The union president is Corazon Gonzales and can be reached at

29 May 2006: Union submits CBA proposal

June to Nov 2006: No movement in negotiations. University board of trustees rejects some economic demands of the union

22 Sept 2006: Union president receives memo re serious misconduct complaint by 12 students and in the same day is handed down a preventive suspension for 30 days

Union president is subsequently dismissed. Union charges that suspension violates CBA provisions on job security and union security, and even the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools. Union alleges harassment

1 Oct 2006: Union files a case for unfair labor practice at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB)

3, 4, 20 Oct 2006: Eleven of twelve accusers successively retract their complaints. In their retraction students say the complaint was merely orchestrated by the lone remaining complainant who is a live in partner of a friend of the University legal counsel

2 Nov 2006: Union files a case for CBA deadlock at NCMB

23 Nov 2006: Union files a notice of strike

30 Nov 2006: Office of the Secretary of Labor assumes jurisdiction (AJ) of labor dispute

2 July 2007: Protest rally by the union on University’s 61st foundation day. Marching band played mournful songs while union members protested outside University campus

28 Jan 2008: University files cases vs. union president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, auditor, pro and spokesperson for violation of AJ order on the basis of the protest rally of 2 July 2007. This is two days before a scheduled local union election. Union alleges harassment and union busting

19, 20 Feb 2008: University recommends union officers be found guilty of violating AJ

3 Jan 2008: Office of the Labor Secretary decides on the labor dispute. Orders the following:

Execute a CBA for the period 1 June 2006-31 May 2008
Dismisses union complaint re unfair labor practice for refusal to bargain
Finds University guilty of union busting
Invalidates preventive suspension and dismissal of union president
Reinstates union president with full back wages and benefits

“We need not overstretch our imagination too that the acts of the University that we invalidated here were undertaken to cripple the Union’s representation at bargaining. On the whole, the totality of the University’s acts sufficiently shows the University’s interference with or restraint on the employees’ exercise on their right to self-organization.”

15 Jan 2008: University files motion for reconsideration on the 3 January 2008 decision. Starts a series of pleadings from both parties

7 Oct 2008: Office of the Labor Secretary issues an Omnibus Resolution on the all the cases arising from the labor dispute. The decision of 3 January 2008 is affirmed.

University has filed a petition for review of the Omnibus Resolution at Court of Appeals. Case is still pending.

29 Oct 2008: University holds a “peace and development seminar” for employees. Sgt. Edgar Dimalanta of the Civil Affairs Office of the 71st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army says that union can suffer the same bloody fate as the Hacienda Luisita workers if they insist on presence of the union president in the CBA negotiations. He also declares that the military has received reports the union is infiltrated by communist guerillas

25 Nov 2008: Sgt. Dimalanta tells the union vice-president that military men will visit their homes after the latter refused the former’s invitation to meet the union executive committee

2 Dec 2008: Union files complaint at the Commission on Human Rights against the Armed Forces of the Philippines for harassment

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