Teachers reject governor’s pension plan offer ahead of meeting
By John McPhaul
The meeting between teachers unions and the members of the central government had not started at press time, but one thing had already been established by the teachers: They would not accept the offer to be made by Gov. Pedro Perluisi Urrutia to give the teachers a pension plan similar to that of the police.
The governor’s offer, which he announced over the weekend, was a non-starter, Puerto Rico Federation of Teachers President Mercedes Martínez said.
“What he is offering is a 25% reduction in our pensions. Why would we consider that?” she said.
A group of teachers staged a small demonstration outside the State Pensions Office in San Juan where the meeting between four central government representatives and four leaders of the teachers unions was to take place.
The teachers also said they would demand that Pierluisi sign House Bill 573 which enshrines in law teachers’ wage increases to a base salary of $2,7000 (which Pierluisi has already agreed to) and the withdrawal of House Resolution 278, which authorizes payment of $10 billion to bondholders while cutting spending on services and the right to a pension for public employees, according to the teachers’ representatives.
“They want to give [off-island] bondholders who are vultures, two or three times what they paid for the bonds while they paid for them while relegating teachers and other public servants to misery in their old age,” said Federation of Teachers Vice President Edwin Morales
The resolution also provides $58 million to legislators for “pork barrel” discretionary spending, Morales said.
While the funds ostensibly give lawmakers resources with which to make improvements in their communities, Morales said they are really a means of buying votes and greasing palms.