The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is a contract governing the relations of the employer and the employee whereby the employee can augment the status or condition of employment so as to place it, more or less in the same status as that of the employer, particularly on wages, hours of work, overtime pay and such other privileges as the parties may agree. Although the CBA speaks only of the bargaining unit and the employer, the benefits agreed upon as included in the CBA shall redound to the benefit of the majority if not all of the employees.Thus, the CBA is the contract between the employer and the employee for a certain time frame. Since it is a contract, the relations of the parties shall be governed by it and the actions, decisions of the parties shall be sanctioned by it. Any act directly or indirectly that would affect the vested rights of the employees through unwarranted decisions of the employer can not be given effect.
Moreover, it should be noted that whatever act that can not be done directly can not likewise be done indirectly.The latter principle is present in the instant case. There is a CBA existing in the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) as the employer and with its employees. The laying-off of the union members can be attributed to the transferring of work functions of these union members to the non-union full time attorney. This is a clear violation of the provision provided for under Article II. The reason advanced by CSEA to effect efficiency and cost reduction can not be made a subterfuge to defeat the vested rights of the employees, the rights of the employees particularly that there is an existing CBA, is paramount.
Hence, the union should prevail.With this, reinstatement of the layed-off union members should be awarded and such other award as may have been provided for in the CBA. With respect to the reinstatement, it is proper because the said union members’ right of security of tenure have been violated, hence, it is proper. With respect to the award provided in the CBA, the same is proper on the premise that the CBA is the contract governing the relations of the parties, being a contract, it shall be determinative of whatever benefits the employees or union members ought to receive.Nevertheless, the above proposition does not foreclose the possibility of resolving the issue through the grievance machinery set forth in the CBA on the same premise that the CBA is the contract between the employer and the employee.
Resort to the remedies provided for in the CBA should be effected first otherwise, condition precedent can be easily disregarded and vested rights impaired.