top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Agreement on pay raise for Medical Center workers requires fiscal board approval

By The Star Staff

In the face of an imminent indefinite strike by the employees of the Río Piedras Medical Center affiliated with the General Workers Union (UGT by its Spanish initials), an agreement was finally reached late last week that grants union workers a salary increase of $800, under a unanimous agreement, after a negotiation process involving Labor and Human Resources Secretary Gabriel Maldonado González, Puerto Rico Medical Services Administration (ASEM by its Spanish initials) Executive Director Jorge Matta and UGT President Edwin Méndez.

“After many months of negotiation, nights of work and willingness to go on strike, we are pleased to announce that the bargaining committee reached a unanimous agreement in collective bargaining, in which a salary increase of up to $800 is guaranteed for our ASEM membership,” Méndez said at a press conference. “This victory is a victory for the working class, and this achievement demonstrates the power of unity and determination of a group of women and men who are not content with band-aids and who were not willing to tolerate any more disrespect. The willingness of these workers to go out and fight was a sign not only of love for the work, but also of self-love, love for service and desire to stay in Puerto Rico to take care of its people.”

The $800 raise will be awarded to employees who received less than an $800 raise as part of the compensation process. The amount will be prorated. Some 1,031 Medical Center employees will benefit.

“We want to congratulate each of the coworkers at ASEM for their dedication and effort in this process,” the union leader added. “They have shown that together we can achieve great things. We also want to congratulate the members of the bargaining committee who went the extra mile after many nights of hard and extensive work, and who sacrificed time with their families to ensure that this agreement could be finalized with the best possible benefits for our membership.”

Matta expressed confidence in the process that must be initiated to request [approval from] the Financial Oversight and Management Board for the granted salary increase. He noted that on the union side they will have to hold an assembly to ratify the agreement reached.

“This is not the first time that the Medical Center has been given funds that don’t come out of their funds,” Matta said. “Some of the funds for the purchase of equipment have been given to us by the Fiscal Control Board [sic] without us having asked for it.”

In the labor dispute at the Medical Center, the UGT disagreed with ASEM’s proposal to offer a salary increase of $800 a month for three years as a retention bonus. The bonus was offered to unionized employees who had not received a raise under the Classification and Compensation Plan implemented in December, or who had received less than $800 in raises. The UGT had asked for a $2,000-a-month increase in its collective bargaining agreement, but it was rejected by the oversight board because of its high cost of $100 million over four years, an amount the government cannot finance.

The wage increase clause was the only point of contention in the collective agreement that negotiators committed to signing.

It was noted that if the ratification of the UGT and the consultation process with the oversight board are achieved, it could be an additional month before starting the payment. If the board does not approve the increase, the union will have to renegotiate another agreement.

As a result of the agreement, it was announced that the work stoppage would be rescinded. At the Medical Center, outpatient clinics would resume their schedule as usual. However, selective surgeries will continue to be paralyzed, but will be rescheduled.

14 views0 comments


bottom of page