Fiscal board recommends repeal of gov’s order raising wage for Puerto Rico construction workers
SAN JUAN – In a letter to Puerto Rico’s governor and Capitol leaders, the island’s Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico recommended the governor rescind Executive Order 2018-033, which sets a minimum wage of $15 per hour for those performing work for federally funded construction projects
Citing section 205 of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, the board said it is making its recommendation based on “a preliminary analysis,” and is “concerned about the impact” on “private sector employment,” which has a “potential to leak into the broader economy.”
“It is the Oversight Board’s view that policies to increase the rate of employment should be foremost in the Government’s mind as it crafts economic policies for Puerto Rico,” wrote José Carrión, who was reelected for a second two-year term as chairman of the board. “In this context, the more prudent course would be to let the market dictate wages for federally funded construction projects, and as demand rises for workers, we would expect wages to increase accordingly.”
The minimum wage increase “is a public policy determination of my Administration,” Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a statement reacting to the board’s move. “Although we appreciate its suggestion, our goal is to ensure that, in the reconstruction of Puerto Rico, our working class is adequately remunerated. It is necessary to ensure that the recovery funds circulate in our economy and do the due social justice.
“We will continue to look for alternatives to help the private sector and to stimulate our economy without affecting this benefit granted to workers. Although much remains to be done, we already see positive signs in the economic indicators and in the federal employment statistics.”