Friday, June 28, 2019

Company meddling in union elections slammed

The group Partido Manggagawa slammed the meddling of management in a union election held yesterday at the garments factory Dong Seung Inc. in the Cavite Economic Zone.

“Management blatantly interfered in the conduct of the elections in violation of the rules guaranteeing workers’ freedom of association. The company lawyer prevented representatives of the union legal counsel to enter the factory and observe the conduct of the election. For the duration of the election, no union legal representatives were in polling area thus putting the results of election in doubt,” stated Rene Magtubo, chair of PM.

Slain labor organizer Dennis Sequena had assisted workers of Dong Seung in organizing a union. Sequena was killed last June 2 in Tanza, Cavite while conducting a labor rights seminar for workers in the Cavite ecozone.

PM called on Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to guarantee the sanctity of union elections and promote freedom of association in the ecozones in view of such gross violations and management interference.  Another certification election is being held today at another garments factory in the Cavite ecozone. Magtubo reminded the DOLE that the country has again been cited at the International Labor Organization annual conference this month for complaints of violations of freedom of association and collective bargaining.

“Meddling by the company lawyer of Dong Seung started well before the actual certification election. During the pre-election proceedings, the company lawyer opposed the participation of any legal counsels except for the employer. The employer was given the privilege of pollwatchers in violation of the bystander rule,” Magtubo averred.

He added that “The company lawyer demanded that two union officers can only be allowed to vote if they undermine their pending case at the National Labor Relations Commission by declaring that their complaint is not true. Is this not a clear case of blackmail? He also pushed for the inclusion of 112 voters in violation of the rule providing that employees regularized after the three-months prior are excluded. The company lawyer finally insisted that campaigning and distribution of sample ballots are prohibited!”

“Unfortunately the election officer from the DOLE provincial office—in a clear act of omission—allowed all of this flagrant management interference despite his power to administer the conduct of the certification election. The rules provide that management is only a bystander in a union election since workers’ have freedom of association. Workers do not interfere when investors and stockholders vote for the company board of directors. So why should employers meddle in elections among workers?,” Magtubo explained.

June 28, 2019

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