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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

PREPA union reaches agreement on pensions

By The Star Staff

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and the Independent Professional Employees Union (UEPI by its Spanish initials) have agreed to amend the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to freeze employees’ pension benefits.

The agreement, which removes a roadblock to the confirmation of PREPA’s debt adjustment plan, is expected to last five years from the effective date of the plan of adjustment, whose confirmation remains pending in court.

“PREPA’s obligation to provide for accrual of future defined benefits under the PREPA ERS [Employees Retirement System] shall be deleted from the CBA,” the proposed amendment reads in a motion filed this week.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, who is overseeing PREPA’s bankruptcy, has said that in order for PREPA to be able to reject collective bargaining agreements, it must show that it has engaged in reasonable efforts to negotiate voluntary modifications to the CBA. PREPA must also show that the CBA will impair PREPA’s ability to reorganize.

The Electrical Industry and Irrigation Workers Union (UTIER) is now the only union not agreeing to pension cuts in its CBA. PREPA’S primary union has said negotiations have not been in good faith.

Under the terms of the UEPI’s deal, if UTIER negotiates a better deal, UEPI employees would receive those terms instead.

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