Measure filed in defense of workers displaced by LUMA

By John McPhaul

Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Rep. Denis Márquez Lebrón announced on Thursday the filing of a legislative measure that seeks to protect the rights of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) workers facing inter-agency job transfers as a result of the contract with the private consortium LUMA Energy.

“Currently, any claim from PREPA employees that arises from the mobility processes has to be addressed by the CASP [the Spanish acronym for the Public Service Appeals Commission]; however, I recently warned about and requested an investigation into the situation of the thousands of active unresolved cases and, in the face of the avalanche of new cases already filed -- which exceed 2,000 cases -- after the LUMA Energy contract, I have filed this measure to create a Special Commission that fairly and diligently addresses the claims that arise in order to guarantee the protection of the rights of PREPA workers,” said Márquez Lebrón in a written statement.

The lawmaker noted that Joint Resolution 157 creates the Special Commission for the Review and Adjudication of the Transfer of PREPA employees, in order to evaluate and review the mobility processes, determine whether to revoke or confirm the determined mobility action by the Office of Administration and Human Resources (OATRH) and exempt the CASP from reviewing any mobility action of PREPA employees.

As denounced by Márquez Lebrón, the CASP has about 5,500 unresolved active cases, a situation that would be aggravated by the new claims that arise after the privatization of PREPA, which is slated to begin June 1 when the contract with LUMA Energy takes effect.

The PIP minority leader in the House of Representatives opposed the contract between PREPA and LUMA Energy, and specified that in public hearings the designated head of the OATRH recognized that the agency has made mistakes in the transfer process involving PREPA employees as a result of outdated residential addresses, employees sent to non-existent offices, and positions assigned to those who do not meet the requirements, while describing the process as “inhuman and insensitive when dealing with people who have dedicated their lives to serving the country and who today live in uncertainty and anguish.”

“This legislative initiative seeks to do justice and guarantee the rights of PREPA workers in the face of this disastrous agreement that gave our most important asset to those who only seek profit,” Márquez Lebrón said.

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