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In a labor dispute, the Court of Appeals (CA) sides casino employees.

A petition filed by a casino operator against its workers’ union over a dispute over the coverage of their Collective Bargaining Agreement was dismissed by the Court of Appeals (CA) (CBA).

The appellate court’s Eleventh division said it “finds no reason to deviate from the findings” of the labor arbiter who had ruled against Melco Resorts Leisure (Phils.) Corp., which operates the City of Dreams Manila resort and casino, in a seven-page resolution written by Associate Justice Myra V. Garcia Fernandez on December 28 and recently published online.

On March 10, 2021, Labor Arbiter Renato Q. Bello ordered the firm to pay the benefits owing to the company’s impacted employees, who were represented by the Kilusan ng Manggagawang Makabayan (KMM-Katipunan).

The workers’ association filed a labor complaint for non-payment of CBA benefits, alleging that some employees were not receiving benefits that they were entitled to under the CBA.

Those who were promoted on January 29, 2020, retired on February 1, 2020, or paid their gaming job licenses, city health permits, and police clearances in January 2020 were all exempt.

The corporation stated that the CBA was only signed and executed on February 12, 2020, and that the excluded workers had no vested rights prior to that date.

On April 24, 2019, the workers’ group filed their proposed CBA, and on January 22, 2020, the corporation and the workers’ group finalized and signed the CBA.

On February 12, 2020, the company’s chief operating officer Kevin Benning’s representative and authorized signatories met with the workers’ representatives to sign the CBA.

The CA supported the labor arbitrator’s finding that, while the CBA was signed and executed in 2020, the parties intended for its provisions to have retroactive effect, and that deciding who is entitled to its benefits should begin on July 1, 2019, the CBA’s effective date. The corporation then filed a complaint with the California Attorney General’s office.

The corporation “failed to show a clear and obvious right for the issuing of a writ” to stop the arbiter, the appellate court said, adding that such a writ can “be given only in the face of actual and existing substantial rights.”

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