[Urgent Appeal] 26 workers dismissed, harassed after nixing management union -CTUHR

URGENT APPEAL
15 October 2012

26 workers dismissed, harassed after nixing management union

Dear friends and partners,

The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights together with the workers of Bacolod Columbia Markerting Inc.(BCMI), is appealing to you to support the fight of the workers of BCMI against unjust dismissal, unfair labor practice and non-recognition of their union.

On two separate instances last September, at least 26 workers of the BCMI. have been unjustly removed from work after they successfully replaced the management-appointed union leaders through a local election. On October 4, the workers under the new leadership of BCMI Workers Association filed a notice of strike against BCMI management on grounds of unfair labor practice and union busting.

Case Summary:

Twenty-six workers of the Bacolod Columbia Marketing Inc. Workers Association (BCMWA), were unjustly dismissed in two separate instances in September 2012. Dismissed workers include the newly-elected officers of the BCMWA following a local election that deposed management-installed union leaders. The workers were:

1.Crusos Tanaman
2.Janeth Lim
3.Eduardo Descutido
4.Roberto Amante
5.Danilo Gacutan
6.Joemar Reusroa
7.Remos Torrecarion
8.Jose Roland Cansenaje
9.Fernando Padilla, Jr.
10.Jenny Benedicto
11.Joamarie Gan
12.Rene Estilo
13.Jose Rexis Adelantar
14.Enrico Rivera
15.Rodolfo Cabayao
16.Arnold Pelaez
17.Walter Belo
18.Reynaldo Miranda
19.Melvin Caminse
20.Charlito Tolentino
21.Evangeline Guttierez
22.Dennis Gepaya
23.Marlon Camagos
24.Edwin Claur
25.Jocel Lapa
26.Reymund Yburan

BCMWA was first organized by Congress of Independent Organization-Associated Labor Union (CIO-ALU) in August 26, 1991 without the knowledge of rank and files employees. The union officers, coming largely from the supervisory ranks, were handpicked by the management who voluntarily recognized the union in 1996. Again in 2001, BCMI General Manager (GM) Alfonso Choa voluntarily recognized the union.

Starting 2001, the management through Mr. Choa and the CIO-ALU have secretly concluded 3 collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). But it was only in the first quarter of 2011 when the workers knew that there was a union. The workers also learned about the “substandard” CBA of 2011-2016 forged between the management of Mr. Choa and CIO-ALU.

In response to this management deceit and treacherous attack on workers’ rights, the workers of BCM organized themselves to establish a workers union that will truly uphold their interests. On September 10, rank and file workers conducted a local election which deposed the management-picked union leaders and installed a new set of officers: Crusos Tanaman as President; Jose Judy Buen as Vice President; Janeth Lim as Secretary, Eduardo Descutido as Treasurer; Roberto Amante as Auditor while Donah Singson; and Jose Ronald Canenaje, Jonie Dela Pena, Remos Torrecarion, Jomar Reusora and Danilo Gacutin as Board of Directors.

This move however earned the ire of the management. In several instances, leaders and members of the new union were harassed, intimidated and discriminated by the BCMI management and its security forces:

1) On August 13, 2012 at about 10:20 in the morning, BCMI workers Crusos Tanaman and Jomar Reusora were held at gunpoint (using an M-16 rifle and a .45 caliber pistol) in front of 14 other workers by BCMI security guards Fernando Alolor and Alexander Alison together with Choa’s personal bodyguard Gabriel Hinolan while the two workers were piling consumer products on their delivery truck.

Tanaman, Reusora and the 14 others immediately reported the incident to the nearby Police Station and filed a complaint at the village council in Bgy. Villamonte. Then they resumed working and extended their duty to complete their 8 hours of work on that day.

2) On August 20, Choa suspended Tanaman, Reusora and 15 others for allegedly abandoning their work on August 13.

3) On Septmber 18, Choa and his lawyer sent a letter to CIO-ALU stating that the “persons who participated in the union election and who were voted into as officers were already-duly discharged from their duties.” Choa also notified CIO-ALU that the elected officers were already terminated amidst the pending suspension and in the absence of their termination notices. Choa in discriminating the new officers told CIO-ALU that the management “will be assisting CIO in determining the actual employees of the Company who were qualified to vote.”

4) On September 19, Tanaman and the 15 other workers reported to work after their 30-day suspension. Security guards however barred them from entering company premises.

5) On last September 24, Mr. Choa sent a letter to CIO-ALU dismissing Tanaman and the 15 others from their work. Another batch of suspensions and dismissal were imposed upon 10 more workers on various grounds and charges.

The workers tried to settle their complaint with the management through a grievance procedure. However, Choa continue to refuse to recognize Tanaman as the duly-elected union president mandated to represent the workers.

On October 4, 2012, BCMWA filed a Notice of Strike at National Conciliation and Mediation Board on grounds of unfair labor practice and union busting.

Additional Information:

Bacolod Columbia Marketing, Inc. or BCMI is primarily engaged in Marketing and Distribution of major fast moving consumer products around Negros Island especially in popular Department Stores and Malls.

Congress of Independent Organization-Associated Labor Union (CIO-ALU) is a confederation of labor union affiliated to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

Action Needed:

Please write to the authorities asking their intervention in order to prompt BCMI management to:

1) Immediately reinstate the 26 unjustly dismissed employees!

2) Stop unfair labor practice and union busting against the members of BCMWA!

3) Respect workers’ freedom of association!
Kindly send your letters to:

Alfonso Chan Choa
General Manager, Bacolod Columbia Marketing, Inc.
2525 Narra Extension, Hervias Subdivision
Bacolod City 6100, Philippines

Hon. Rosalinda Dimapilid Baldoz
Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment
7th Floor DOLE Bldg., Intramuros,
Fax no.: (632) 336-8182
Email: secrdb@dole.gov.ph

Hon. Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President Republic of the Philippines
Manila JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005, Philippines
Fax: +63 2 73610101
Email: op@president@gov.ph

Thank you very much,

Sincerely yours,
Center for Trade Union and Human Rights
ctuhr.org

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