PRTC Gambling Div. employees still wait health insurance negotiations as it might cost double

Elimination of Tourism Company, and fusion with DDEC, may cause another issues, expensive ones

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @PCorreaHenry

Special to The Star

Around 30 management employees from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s (PRTC) Gambling Division have been neglected for six months by the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission (PRGC) to negotiate for a fair healthcare plan, as they might have to spend double the money on their new insurance and get less coverage if they end up separated from the agency, said the division’s Inspector Supervisor Andy Viera on Monday.

Viera said that the employees from the Gambling Division are “on a limbo due to bad legislations through Law 81, lack of communication and lack of transparency” as the division has tried to communicate with the company’s executive branch four times, including PRTC Executive Director Carla Campos, PRGC Executive Director José Maymó Azize and PRGC Human Resources Director Vanessa Ortiz, yet they haven’t received any response. According to Viera, their new healthcare plan, which is with health insurer Triple S, would cost up to $400 a month and offers less benefits than their former plan, which cost around $170-$200 per month and had “spectacular benefits.”

“I summon Mr. Maymó to sit down, once and for all, with the management employees of the Gambling Division, the ones who work on the field, it’s important that this has to happen and, also, that he addresses the casino industry’s claims as they are agonizing, the casino industry is on a ventilator,” Viera said.

Likewise, Viera raised these concerns as their healthcare insurance’s due date is on September 30th. Furthermore, as to which employees from the PRTC’s Gambling Division might get affected by this change if there weren’t any negotiations, he said that the only employees who haven’t been able to negotiate their healthcare insurance are the management employees.

“When it comes to our medical plan, this is where it gets interesting, inside the PRTC’s Gambling Division, there are two groups belonging to unions: Collection Employees and Gambling Inspectors. These colleagues were able to negotiate their insurance through a broker. I made a petition to our Human Resources Director, Mrs. [Vanessa] Ortiz, so management employees from the Gambling Division would get the same opportunity to sit down and negotiate with a broker, to this day, we still wait for an answer,” said Viera while he demanded for Maymó Azize to be more open with them.

On the other hand, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Delegate Spokesman for the Tourism Committee, Representative Angel Matos García, called for Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced to not eliminate the company and fuse it with the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC for its Spanish acronym) as it would destabilize Puerto Rico’s public economy and the salaries from the agency’s employees.

“Due to defectuous legislations through Law 81, which created the recent Puerto Rico Gaming Commission, it has colleagues from this workshop in a legal limbo, where their rights get lost, stolen and abused. The Gambling Division is the heart that pumps the casino activities in Puerto Rico and had custody of millions of dollars that go to the PRTC, the island’s General Funds and our University of Puerto Rico,” Matos García said.

Meanwhile, PRTC’s Management Employees Association President Iraida Vega said that they are not asking for a raise or more benefits, they are asking to get back their autonomy. Vega said that as PRTC’s budget was $115 million, which provided $4.5 million yearly to the DDEC, there is no reason to fuse both entities as DDEC “lacks the structure to absorb the company’s workforce.”

“There’s a mistake here, there’s something that happened hastily, there was no time to reflect what was going to happen with PRTC and which interests were behind this that has harmed terribly not only to Puerto Ricans, but to the entire island as they don’t have an agency that could represent them fairly in the exterior,” Vega said.

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