A labor organization is any employee union or association existing in whole or in part for the purpose of collective bargaining or of dealing with employers concerning terms and conditions of employment.[1]

The said union or association becomes a legitimate labor organization if it is duly registered with DOLE.[2] Vested with a legal personality, a legitimate labor organization has these rights and privileges:[3]

  • To act as the representative of its members for the purpose of collective bargaining;[4]
  • To be certified as the exclusive representative of all the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit for purposes of collective bargaining;[5]
  • To be furnished by the employer, upon written request, with its annual audited financial statements, including the balance sheet and the profit and loss statement, within 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of the request, after the union has been duly recognized by the employer or certified as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative of the employees in the bargaining unit, or within 60 calendar days before the expiration of the existing collective bargaining agreement, or during the collective bargaining negotiation;[6]
  • To own property, real or personal, for the use and benefit of the labor organization and its members;[7]
  • To sue and be sued in its registered name;[8]
  • To undertake all other activities designed to benefit the organization and its members, including cooperative, housing, welfare and other projects not contrary to law;[9] and
  • To be exempted from taxes, duties and other assessments with respect to its income and properties, including grants, endowments, gifts, donations and contributions they may receive from fraternal and similar organizations, local or foreign, which are actually, directly and exclusively used for their lawful purposes.[10]

The bargaining representative is a legitimate labor organization whether or not employed by the employer.[11]

In an establishment, there may be more than one legitimate labor organization. The employer may require that only one bargaining representative will be dealt with for purposes of collective bargaining. The exclusive bargaining representative is the legitimate labor organization that has been designated or selected by the majority of the employees in an appropriate collective bargaining unit for the purpose of collective bargaining.[12]

In contrast to a bargaining representative, a company union is a labor organization whose formation, function or administration has been assisted by any act defined as unfair labor practice by the Labor Code.[13]


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[1] LABOR CODE. Article 219 (g).

[2] Ibid. Article 219 (h).

[3] LABOR CODE. Article 239 cf. Article 250.

[4] LABOR CODE. Article 239 (a).

[5] LABOR CODE. Article 239 (b).

[6] LABOR CODE. Article 239 (c).

[7] LABOR CODE. Article 239 (d).

[8] LABOR CODE. Article 239 (e).

[9] LABOR CODE. Article 239 (f).

[10] LABOR CODE. Article 239 cf. Article 250.

[11] Ibid. Article 219 (j).

[12] Ibid. Article 266 cf. Article 239 (c).

[13] Ibid. Article 219 (i).