Bernier says he will fight Rosselló’s single-employer proposal
SAN JUAN — Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate David Bernier on Tuesday affirmed he won’t fire public employees or reduce their work hours, a commitment he said he would take to the fiscal board established by the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (Promesa).
The party president assured he will fight against the proposal to make the government a single employer, as proposed by New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Ricardo Rosselló.
Bernier believes the model doesn’t respect collective-bargaining agreements, changes public employees’ classifications and could result in political discrimination, contrary to his own “comprehensive government” proposal, he said.
“I will fight the single employer with all my…strength. This opens the door to political discrimination, [unjustified decisions] and injustices. Besides, it doesn’t acknowledge public employee’s trajectory or acquired rights. We are proposing a comprehensive government that achieves efficiency, that achieves better services without hurting public employees. This is the pronounced contrast between Rosselló’s proposal and Bernier’s,” the former secretary of State said during a press conference at the Minillas government center.
Bernier rejected firing public workers because he believes it would further aggravate the island’s already delicate economic situation. He explained that his idea is to “incentivize the economy with economic development tools to grow the private sector,” the debt’s “sensible and adequate” restructuring, and “tax reform that incentivizes employment.”
He added that he will fight for government efficiency and improving the retirement systems’ situation, a debt he deemed a “moral commitment” to public workers.
Among the 10 points of his proposal for public employees he included keeping the public character of corporations and agencies, encouraging relations between workers and employers through “respect and dialogue,” attending workers’ petitions, and refusing to endorse measures that support a minimum wage reduction.
Likewise, he stated he would provide information about the government’s fiscal situation to Puerto Rico’s labor unions during their biannual meetings. Were economic growth to ocurr, he would establish a “revision and collective negotiation mechanism.”
In the past, the PDP candidate has suggested the possibility of expanding the Fiscal Sustainability Act, which freezes public workers’ benefits. He said he believes Act 66 could be necessary to implement the five-year fiscal plan required by Promesa.
Bernier denies campaign is ‘burnt-out,’ demands fight against corruption
On the other hand, Bernier denied his campaign has lost momentum and said the NPP has been paying for ads to “smear and spread lies about me.”