DOLE's NCMB settles NOS labor dispute at Bethany Hospital through conciliation-mediation

Date Posted: June 16th, 2014 02:46 AM

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz praised the management and the labor union of Bethany Hospital, a Christian health institution in San Fernando, La Union, for their maturity in agreeing to resolve their labor dispute out of the picket line.

"For listening to reason and wise counsel, for considering the greater interest of the community, and for looking at job preservation and continued hospital operation as beneficial to labor and management, I salute the management and the labor union of Bethany Hospital for settling their labor dispute without resorting to a strike which could have debilitating effects to all hospital stakeholders," said Baldoz minutes after the officials of both the hospital's union and management paid her a surprise visit to present to her their settlement agreement.

The amicable settlement, facilitated by the DOLE's National Conciliation and Mediation Board through conciliator-mediator Jay Jasper Javines, was arrived at on 22 April.

Javines reported to Secretary Baldoz the following details of the amicable settlement: (a) P200 in salary increase per month per year for the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) covering the years 2010 to 2014 with backpay/lump sum of each rank-and-file Bethany employee retroactive 1 January 2010; (b) Agency fee of 10 percent of the total lump sum of non-union members shall be deducted by Management, and shall be remitted to the Union in the form of a cheque, and payment shall be made to the Union one (1) month after the submission of membership ratification;

(c) The Union and Management agree to enter into a new CBA covering the years 2015-2019, and both parties agree to a salary increase of P200 per month per year. Furthermore, both parties agree to a salary increase of P200 per month per year, and all other benefits agreed during the negotiation for 2010-2014 shall be incorporated in the new CBA 2015-2019. (d) Both the union and management shall meet to draft the final CBA for signing and registration before the DOLE. The case arose last year when the Union formally filed for Preventive Mediation before the NCMB on 17 April 2013.

Due to impasse, the PM case was elevated into a Notice of Strike, which the NCMB immediately responded to through a series of conciliation-mediation conferences.

On 17 February 2014, management presented its ultimate offer, which was followed by the Union’s action to elevate the dispute to the DOLE’s Office of the Secretary, which assigned the dispute to the Conciliation and Mediation Unit.

It took the CMU only two months to settle the dispute.

"In view of this agreement, both parties also agreed and concurred that the notice of strike filed before the NCMB is now considered dropped and the labor dispute is considered closed and terminated," Javines happily reported.

In commending the NCMB for this feat, Baldoz said determination and relentless effort of the parties to reconcile their differences was amply rewarded.

"Now, everyone can move on. With the agreement, harmonious industrial peace will now reign in the hospital. Jobs were preserved and the operation of the company can continue," said Baldoz.

Bethany Hospital is an 80-bed capacity tertiary hospital dedicated to providing healthcare for clients, including the poor and disadvantaged. Established in 1921, it is the oldest hospital in Region 1.

Together with its sister facility, Bethany Hospital, in Tacloban City, it had been originally founded by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.

Today it is part of the health care and medical training chain of the original mission’s successor, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), including Bethany-Tacloban; the Silliman University Medical Center Foundation, Inc. in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental; the Visayas Community Medical Center in Cebu City; and, Davao City’s Brokenshire Integrated Health Ministries, all devoted to the church’s social mission and outreach.

Bethany Hospital currently employs some 232 employees, 142 of them on regular status. On the other hand, the Bethany Hospital Employees Union, the bargaining unit of hospital employees, is affiliated with the All Filipino Workers Confederation. It has 18 members, with 102 Bethany workers covered by the bargaining unit.

The settlement agreement was signed by Atty. Leonard T. Subiela, on behalf of the Bethany Hospital Employees Union, and Rev. Raul B. Umayba representing the Bethany Hospital management.

Any question about this release? Please call the NCMB at tel. nos. 527-4320, 332-4176, or 332-2232.

END

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