Employees of the Municipality of San Juan demand negotiations on their collective agreement
Alejandra M. Jover Tovar
Dozens of unionized employees of the Municipality of San Juan gathered in front of City Hall to demand that Mayor Miguel Romero listens to their demands for better wages and working conditions.
The union members of the Puerto Rican Workers Union (SPT, for its Spanish initials) Local 1996 also demanded that the mayor, two years after taking office, finally sit down to negotiate with them to guarantee duties, rights, and benefits to the employees of the capital.
SPT president, Israel Marrero Calderín, denounced the failure of the municipality to comply with its responsibilities as an employer, the lack of materials in work centers, infrastructure problems, and the refusal to negotiate the new collective bargaining agreement.
Luz Yaniré Cruz Avilés, member of the SPT negotiating committee in San Juan, said that Romero “has postponed the promises of salary increases, particularly to the teachers of the municipal education system, and has avoided attending to our demands to initiate the negotiation process of a new collective bargaining agreement to ensure better working conditions.”
She added, “I am part of the negotiating committee, and we are demanding that the mayor stop postponing the promises of salary increases, particularly to the workers of the educational system. He has been avoiding our demands to start the negotiation process. We want to tell the mayor that if he wants San Juan to continue shining, he should attend to the needs of the employees of the municipality of San Juan.”
Eddie Rivera, a School of San Juan teacher, explained that “in our case, what we are demanding is very simple: we were offered a raise last February, and we closed the school year, and we left without any news about what was happening with that raise. Based on this lack of communication, we wrote letters seeking information, asking to know how much the raise was going to be, if it was going to be for all personnel when it would go into effect (we had been told on June 15 that they were going to give us information, and no one communicated), and how long the raise was going to last.”
“Right now, the educational system is in a negotiation process because they want to convert the schools into alliance schools. Based on this process, the increase has been announced. Since this alliance school has been stalled, we have been told that there will be no increase until this process is completed. In August, they said that if the alliance school is established, our raises would come the next school year, and we understand that this would not be fair to us. We have been waiting for a long time, feeling the weight of the economy.”
The SP represents some 2,000 workers of the Municipality of San Juan, including cleaning and maintenance employees, educators, administrative personnel, nurses and technical personnel, specialists, coordinators, etc.