• The San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker: Co-op workers must be included in ‘Premium Pay’

Rep. José Rivera Madera

By John McPhaul

Rep. José Rivera Madera on Monday demanded a review of the “Premium Pay” for workers who have worked during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that cooperative workers have been left out of the federal program.

“It is inconceivable that the executive [branch] is deepening its policy of exclusion of key sectors of the country, which have remained active during the past 20 months of the pandemic,” said the representative for District 23 and chairman of the House Cooperatives Committee in reaction to the complaint members of cooperatives made to the Treasury Department. “The indifference toward this group has been great, which affects over 4,000 workers in the cooperative sector, according to press reports, so I suggest that the governor urgently address the situation of these workers, women and men, dedicated to keeping the economy in motion.”

“When many financial sectors of the country maintained limited services after the passage of Hurricane Maria, the [early 2020] earthquakes and in the midst of the uncertainty and fear caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cooperatives implemented an exemplary plan of action that was maintained among its partners and clients, providing peace of mind knowing that they could solve pressing needs,” Rivera Madera said. “They never were absent. On the contrary, they were allies and constant collaborators, something to which we can all attest.”

The legislator added that “the executive [branch] must reexamine its position on this matter and give us the good and fair news today that they have included cooperative employees in this incentive program granted by the federal government.”

Premium Pay is an incentive that has been granted to employees of the state and municipal government, as well as employees of establishments dedicated to the manufacture of food, of supermarkets and of health-related businesses.

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