Present & former PREPA workers urge senators to pass bill protecting collective bargaining
By John McPhaul
The Alliance of Active, Retired and Displaced Employees of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) asked senators from all the delegations on Thursday to vote in favor of House Bill 1383 which, in addition to cutting the debt with creditors, would avoid increases in the power bill and protect the Retirement System and employees’ collective bargaining agreement.
“The senators have in their hands the opportunity to depoliticize PREPA once and for all,” said Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, president of the electricity union UTIER and spokesman for the Alliance, in a written statement. “They have in their hands the capacity to ensure that the bill does not raise the cost of electricity to more than 20 cents per kilowatt-hour. They have in their hands a chance to cut PREPA’s debt by 75 percent. They have in their hands the means to provide adequate financing to PREPA’s Employees Retirement System, without altering the defined benefit model that currently exists and thus guaranteeing present and future pensions. The senators have to approve this bill for the country’s benefit.”
The union leader said House Bill 1383, which has already been approved in the House, would prevent increases in bills and cuts to present and future pensions.
“This bill would prevent what we have been seeing in the past few months, bill increases galore.This is relief for the pockets of all Puerto Ricans who pay their electricity bill monthly,” Figueroa Jaramillo added. “It also establishes that the eligibility criteria for the Retirement System cannot be modified, nor can the benefits of pensioners and active members be frozen or modified, thus also protecting the collective bargaining agreement of employees.”
“This is the time for senators of all parties to grow up and put the benefit of the people first,” he said. “It is time to make history and give way to this bill that saves the country’s pockets and protects our pensioners.”