Puerto Rico ruling party mayors back labor measures agreed upon by gov, fiscal board
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Mayors Federation, which is composed of the heads of the majority New Progressive Party (NPP), announced its unanimous support for the agreement between Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and the island’s fiscal oversight board regarding the elimination of Act 80, which penalizes unjustified worker dismissals.
Last week, La Fortaleza announced that the fiscal board agreed not to reduce vacation and sick leave in the private sector, as well as to not require that the statutory Christmas bonus for public employees in exchange for the legislature introducing a bill to repeal Act 80 by June 27 that is approved and comes in effect by Jan. 1.
“We had a discussion and acknowledged, as I have always, that this is not a perfect agreement but that it is an agreement that is for the benefit of the people of Puerto Rico. I outlined the points, we took questions, we had a dialogue and a resolution was taken to vote with the mayors to support the agreements we had reached with the fiscal oversight board. And in this meeting, the vote was one of unanimous support…,” Rosselló said Thursday at a press conference with his party’s mayors.
“The benefit of this agreement for the workers of Puerto Rico is too great. And due to that benefit for the workers that was achieved in that agreement between the government and the fiscal control board, we cannot put that agreement into play. So we mayors are today unanimously endorsing this agreement,” Federation president and mayor of Arecibo, Carlos Molina, added.
The budget agreement for fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1, also includes a $50 million fund that would be assigned to the municipalities.
To questions about the type of pressure mayors would exert on the legislature to push for the repeal of Act 80, Rosselló said every official was elected by their constituents. “The mayors will use the mechanisms they have available to them as I will be doing to benefit the people of Puerto Rico. The important thing is that a clear and strong message of support for this agreement is being sent here.”
Meanwhile, Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz said he will not respond to pressure from the governor and mayors to pass the repeal the unjustified dismissals law.
“Our mayors’ expressions is heard and respected, as the decision of each lawmaker will also have to be respected. If they do not present arguments that justify the repeal of Act 80, there is no kind of ‘pressure’ that will work. The dignity, the good sense and reason are above other considerations,” Rivera Schatz posted on his Facebook page.
He also urged the governor to present the legislation in question.
“Governor, present the bill. We are waiting for it. We will address it with the utmost sense of responsibility. I guarantee it. Reason does not scream, it convinces,” Rivera Schatz added.