G.R. No. 164301 BPI v. BPI Employees Union-Davao August 10, 2010

Facts:

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) moves for reconsideration of the Supreme Court’s Decision dated August 10, 2010, holding that former employees of the Far East Bank and Trust Company (FEBTC) “absorbed” by BPI pursuant to the two banks’ merger in 2000 were covered by the Union Shop Clause in the then existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA) of BPI with respondent BPI Employees Union-Davao Chapter-Federation of Unions in BPI Unibank (the Union).

The Union Shop Clause involved in the controversy provided in part, thus: “New employees falling within the bargaining unit as defined in Article I of this Agreement, who may hereafter be regularly employed by the Bank shall, within thirty (30) days after they become regular employees, join the Union as a condition of their continued employment.”

In seeking the reversal of August 10, 2010 Decision, petitioner insists that FEBTC employees cannot be considered new employees as BPI merely stepped into the shoes of FEBTC as an employer purely as a consequence of the merger.

Issue:

Whether or not the “absorbed” FEBTC employees fell within the definition of “new employees” under the Union Shop Clause.

Ruling:

Yes. Although by virtue of the merger BPI steps into the shoes of FEBTC as a successor employer as if the former had been the employer of the latter’s employees from the beginning it must be emphasized that, in reality, the legal consequences of the merger only occur at a specific date, i.e., upon its effectivity which is the date of approval of the merger by the SEC.

In other words, the obligation of BPI to pay the salaries and benefits of the former FEBTC employees and its right of discipline and control over them only arose with the effectivity of the merger. Concomitantly, the obligation of former FEBTC employees to render service to BPI and their right to receive benefits from the latter also arose upon the effectivity of the merger.

Hence, what is material is that all of these legal consequences of the merger took place during the life of an existing and valid CBA between BPI and the Union wherein they have mutually consented to include a Union Shop Clause.

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