Thursday, March 13, 2014

Labor groups slams TRO on union elections in Toledo mine

Photo from Cebu Daily News
Press Release
March 13, 2014
Association of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO)
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)

The Association of Genuine Labor Organizations (AGLO) and Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) today slammed the temporary restraining order (TRO) slapped on the conduct of a union certification election at Galeo Equipment and Mining Company, a contractor at the Carmen Copper mine in Toledo City. At the height of the casting of votes by workers whether to join a union or not, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) halted the elections pursuant to a TRO imposed by the Court of Appeals.

Edmund Canete, the president of Galeo Workers Union (GWU-AGLO) asserted that “The TRO was a last minute maneuver by union-busting and union-evading capitalists to subvert our freedom to choose a union and improve our working conditions.”

A total of 285 Galeo workers had already voted by the time balloting was stopped around 5:35 pm yesterday. Galeo is a contractor within the huge Carmen Copper site that hauls mine waste from the open pit mining site. Another 275 Galeo workers were unable to cast ballots and were disenfranchised due to the TRO.

The election dispute arose from an attempt by the Asiapro manpower cooperative to prevent the unionization efforts at Galeo. Asiapro is claiming that the Galeo workers are their members and thus exempt from unionization. The DOLE however had ruled that there union elections can continue despite Asiapro’s opposition.

“Asiapro is the biggest supplier of contractual employees to many companies thus evading employer obligations to workers. In this case, Asiapro is serving as an instrument to sidestep workers’ right to self-organization and collective bargaining,” Canete claimed.

Toledo

Butch Pena, the national vice president AGLO condemned the TRO. “This TRO is a horrifying act by the second highest court of the land in curtailing workers constitutional right and freedom of association by declaring that Asiapro is an intervenor to the certification election case at Galeo.”

Renato Magtubo, PM national chairperson, argued that “Galeo and Asiapro’s connivance in evading unionism and use of legal maneuvers is not an unusual thing. This happens all the time. No wonder there are so few unions organized. Workers are not averse to unionism but capitalists do everything in their power to sabotage the freedom to organize.”


“We call on organized labor to unite in a campaign to defend the right to organize and job security. Asiapro must be exposed as a capitalist tool to defraud workers of their rights and benefits. Ang laban ng Galeo union ay laban ng lahat,” Magtubo insisted.

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