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Puerto Rico union warns of furlough’s consequences

By on August 3, 2017

SAN JUAN – Ahead of the the potential implementation of a public employee furlough, the United Public Workers union (SPU by its Spanish acronym) warned Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight & Management Board that the measure would have a disastrous effect on the island’s economy.

That is how SPU President Annette González stressed the consequence of cutting workdays, adding that the union won’t accept any furlough of public workers, of which nearly 100,000 who survive “check by check” would be affected.

“The fiscal control board, in its eagerness to favor vulture funds, is not seeing the full picture, and its proposals are are aimed at further weakening our weak economy and impoverishing the country’s working class,” González said.

(Juan J. Rodríguez/CB)

The union leader added that proposed furlough–included in the government fiscal plan certified by the board in March–would result in a less General Fund revenue because employees contribute when paying taxes.

“A workday cut means a wage cut, which in turn implies losing the ability to cover our basic needs and our families’. We won’t be able to pay for water and electricity services, mortgage, health, food, and our debts. We cannot allow that,” she explained.

Sources: Puerto Rico’s fiscal board to announce furlough program

Moreover, González stressed that the action could also affect public service, as she assured that “the people’s services will collapse.” Thus, she urged Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to stand firm on his position of “total rejection” of the measure.

“This measure will have such a dramatic domino effect, that all economic and social structures of our country will be affected […] The government can’t be an accomplice to a country’s collapse. Likewise, we urge the people of Puerto Rico, banks, business owners, and all sectors of our society to join in this demand,” the SPU president said.

It is anticipated that the fiscal control board announces the implementation of the furlough program, which would begin Sept. 1, during its ninth public meeting, scheduled to take place in a hotel in Fajardo on Friday.

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