Teachers’ Union Warns about Retirement System Collapse
The Puerto Rico Teachers Federation (FMPR by its Spanish acronym), a union, warned Thursday that the Teachers Retirement System (SRM by its Spanish acronym) is on the verge of collapse, and would leave “thousands of retired teachers in misery and uncertainty to those remaining active.”
“It is alleged that the Retirement System could collapse in 2017. It is therefore necessary that the sector’s retirees get organized to fight and demand justice,” said Mercedes Martínez, president of the FMPR.
Among the situations that are affecting the SRM, the union highlighted Act 160 of 2013, which was described as “the latest effort to destroy the existence of the SRM as we know it.” Among the law’s clauses is the implementation of a fiscal control board that, in Martínez’s view, “makes clear the intention of cutting retirees’ pension benefits, just like what has happened in Detroit. “
Moreover, the benefits stemming from special laws, such as bonuses, “were reduced for current retirees and outright eliminated for future retirees. The pensions of retired teachers have not increased in years, while the cost of living continues to increase. We gave proposals back in 2014 to raise funds for the SRM, but the government has not addressed them.”
The FMPR also noted that the Department of Education “is failing to comply with the contributions for the SRM,” and that “the government has agreed to use the contributions of SRM for payroll expenses, among other purposes.” The magisterial group warned that if the SRM collapses, retired educators would not have any income because they do not receive Social Security benefits.
The organization added that it has been meeting with other unions representing of retired teachers to organize against the dismantling of the SRM. “Retired teachers of the Federation and the union as a whole are prepared to give an uphill battle in defense of our retirement benefits,” Martínez went on to say.