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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor: Bigger Yule bonuses come with union support for commonwealth debt adjustment plan

Víctor Rivera Pastrana

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia looked to explain on Tuesday why public employees in Puerto Rico who work under Public Servants United (SPU by its Spanish initials) will receive a larger Christmas bonus.

“Well, it is not to be announced before the end of this week what the expected amount of funds is, and obviously what SPU and affiliates and the rest will receive,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “And they are the ones, as I have said, those who work in the agencies covered under the full amount of funds and obviously what the adjustment plan and the previous agreements with the [oversight] board provide.”

In other words, obviously, there is a commitment to give a higher bonus to SPU members, because the SPU openly supported the investment plan,” he added.

As announced by the governor, the debt adjustment plan (PAD by its Spanish acronym) provides for the payment of a greater bonus to public servants represented by the SPU/American Federation of State, Country and Municipal Employees union because they supported the approval of the central government PAD. Like the Christmas bonus, the PAD bonus is considered part of the ordinary income of public servants and will be subject to the corresponding federal and state withholdings.

However, some unions have called the situation discriminatory.

“While we are happy that workers receive higher incomes, we must repudiate the use of such measures to legalize discrimination against those who reject the PAD,” said Víctor Rivera Pastrana, of the EDUCAMOS education union and Eva Ayala Reyes of the EDUCAMOS Retirement Committee, in a written statement. “It is shameful that attempts are being made to punish employees who exercise their right to free speech. It is another way to criminalize the right to express oneself around any issue that is supposed to be covered by the constitutions of the U.S. and Puerto Rico. And it is worse that the governor himself is the spokesman for this act of discrimination.”

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