CVM candidates sign commitment to advocate for decent retirement
By Pedro Correa Henry
Special to The Star
Various candidates from the Citizen Victory Movement (CVM) signed a commitment from community organization Pensions Defense Front on Sunday to fulfill their promise to approve House Bills (HB) 2434 and 2575, which aim to guarantee protections for public servants’ pensions and the University of Puerto Rico’s (UPR) retirement system, respectively.
CVM president and at-large Senate candidate Ana Irma Rivera Lassen said the commitment comes as part of the movement’s agenda as it “appears crosswise to defend workers’ rights” and signing such a petition would ratify the CVM’s commitment to restore them.
“One of the reasons that brought CVM into existence is, precisely, Puerto Rico’s reconstruction in social, economic, financial, environmental and political aspects, and, as part of our agenda, the payment of pensions that go above any other governmental disbursement,” Rivera Lassen said. “As a part of defending workers’ rights, we have a commitment to bring back all the rights that have been taken away from them in exchange for gruesome laws that have thrown years of pure work to the floor.”
Meanwhile, CVM gubernatorial candidate Alexandra Lúgaro said the movement has centered on their collective purpose to defend not only workers’ rights but also other program areas that benefit Puerto Rican citizens. She said the movement does not intend to repeat what the “old policy parties have done for decades.”
“In recent decades, old policy parties have committed over and over again to defending the retirement system, they have committed to protecting workers’ rights over and over again, and they failed again and again while having control of both the executive and legislative branches,” Lúgaro said.
Likewise, Lúgaro said the movement and its legislative team, once they get into the government, not only will commit to adopting measures that prevent pension cuts and protect workers’ welfare, but will also offer different alternatives for auditing and canceling the island’s public debt.
“Once we get into the government, we will approve these measures immediately,” Lúgaro said. “However, these bills cannot be viewed as isolated bills. They are part of the different initiatives that the CVM supports to face the fiscal crisis, such as the auditing [of the debt] and its cancellation, in addition to our opposition to the Financial and Oversight Management Board.”
HB 2434, known as the Law for a Dignified Retirement, seeks to defend the pensions of public workers and government retirees in the bankruptcy process. The bill has been supported and reviewed by the Pensions Defense Front and more than 20 union and professional organizations in Puerto Rico.
HB 2572, meanwhile, proposes to maintain the UPR Retirement System as one of the defined benefits and pass the Retirement System Trust into the hands of the System Retirement Board, composed of elected representatives of the university community. The bill has the support of the UPR Retirees Association and various organizations such as the Puerto Rican Association of University Professors, the Brotherhood of Non-Teaching Exempt Employees and the UPR Workers’ Union.