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Philippine Electric Company is engaged in electric power generation and distribution. It is a unionized company with Kilusang Makatao as the union representing its rank-and-file employees. During the negotiations for their expired collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the parties duly served their proposals and counter-proposals on one another. The parties, however, failed to discuss the merits of their proposals and counter-proposals in any formal negotiation meeting because their talks already bogged down on the negotiation grounds, i.e., on the question of how they would conduct their negotiations, particularly on whether to consider retirement as a negotiable issue.
Because of the continued impasse, the union went on strike. The Secretary of Labor and Employment immediately assumed jurisdiction over the dispute to avert widespread electric power interruption in the country. After extensive discussions and the filing of position papers (before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board and before the Secretary of himself) on the validity of the union’s strike and on the wage and other economic issues (including the retirement issue), the DOLE Secretary ruled on the validity of the strike and on the disputed CBA issues, and ordered the parties to execute a CBA based on his rulings.
Did the Secretary of Labor exceed his jurisdiction when he proceeded to rule on the parties’ CBA positions even though the parties did not fully negotiate on their own? (8%)