The Radio Mindanao Network Davao Employees’ Union (RDEU) won a landslide victory today as the bargaining representative of media workers of RMN-DXDC Davao in a Certification Election (CE) conducted by authorities of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today at the RMN Davao station premises.
The CE is a process by which rank-and-file employees affirms the union of their choice as their sole exclusive bargaining agent.
Eighteen (18) rank-and file workers voted for RDEU while two voted for the management-favored union, Radio Mindanao Network Employees Union-Mindanao Congress of Labor-Trade Union of the Philippines and Allied Services (RMNEU-MCL-TUPAS). Only one voted for a no-union stance. There are currently 24 rank-and-file workers of RMN Davao. Three were considered challenged votes and were not counted.
“This is a hard-won victory. After eight months of struggle, our colleagues at RMN Davao can now finally have a union that can collectively bargain for their rights with network employers. This is crucial given the low wages media workers receive amid fast rising prices of commodities, and in the light of recent spate of illegal dismissals experienced by fellows at RMN Davao,” Jessie Casalda, Chair of NUJP-Davao said.
The workers of RMN Davao have formed themselves into a union in August last year after the station manager, Mario Maximo “Dodong” Solis was sacked, and three others in the top supervisory positions were forced to resign – an action by the RMN management recently proven by a decision from the National Labor Relations Commission XI (NLRC XI) as a clear case of “illegal dismissal.”
The RDEU was able to secure a registration with the DOLE XI in the same month, but a petition for a CE as early as September last year was snagged several times due to attempts by the management to assail the petition, as well delays that RMN Davao workers blamed on inadvertence on the part of the government labor agency itself.
The RMN Davao workers through their sole bargaining union, the RDEU is bent on passing a collective bargaining agreement proposal to the network management anytime soon, which covers demands for increased wages, due benefits, and protection of tenure, among others.
NUJP Davao commends RMN workers for this action. “The right to association is a constitutionally-guaranteed right. Our fellows at RMN Davao have showed the way. Their struggle is a message that through our unity we can fight for a humane working condition sorely absent among media workers in the country today,” Casalda.
“We hope we can sustain further the unity that was shown. The fight for better working conditions for media workers has just begun. This is a victory not just for the RDEU but for all our colleagues in Davao who helped keep watch until we were finally able to prove that in fearlessly taking a stand against such violations, there is a chance that we can reclaim the rights denied of us by our employers,” Casalda said.
Once again, we say, that the fight of media workers of RMN Davao is the fight of all media workers. In the end, it is the people who will benefit from a press whose rights are amply protected.