Treasury employees demand federal relief incentive, bonus owed for years and a COVID-19

By The Star Staff

Employees of the island Treasury Depart- ment asked Gov. Wanda Vázquez on Wednesday to be included in the bonuses granted to employees who have worked during the coronavirus pandemic emergency, and demanded that Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés pay the productivity bonus they have been owed since 2012 and that he discuss with the union the protocols for avoiding the spread of the coronavirus in the agency. “We are asking the governor, since she is distributing money to everyone, to give the employees of the Treasury, who since day one of the declared pandemic have been working so that people receive their federal incentives, the same bonus that they have been awarding to other workers who have worked during this emergency,” said Jessica Otero, president of the Financial Employees Union, Local 2373 of the Union Auto Workers (UAW). “How is it possible that the employees who are day by day reaching out and disbursing all this aid have not been taken into consideration for this bonus?”

The union leader noted that Treasury employees have continued to work during the pandemic on the filing of income tax returns, the disbursement of reimbursements and the disbursement of federal and state incentives that have been approved under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Se- curity (CARES) Act. Likewise, Otero said, the employees of the Tax Collection Bureau are owed the payment of the productivity bonus approved since 2012.

“The salary discrimination with these em- ployees of theTreasury reaches such a level that a productivity bonus that has been approved and budgeted since 2012 for the employees of the Collection Bureau is still owed to them,” she pointed out. “They don’t give them the incentives for COVID-19, but they also don’t give them the ones they already have approved. The auditors, who are an essential part of this agency because they are the ones who look for the debts of taxpayers to the Department, also have been forgotten; for years they have not been given any increase. We also do not know the status of the reclassification and remuneration plan, which has already been delivered but is now in the hands of the Fi- nancial Oversight and Management Board.” Meanwhile, UAW International Represen- tative Desiré López emphasized that Parés, the Treasury secretary, has not yet discussed with the union the protocols established by the agency to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. “As everyone knows, governor Wanda Vázquez herself urged the secretaries of agen- cies to discuss with the unions that represent the workers the protocols that have been created to avoid infection with COVID-19 among employees and taxpayers,” López said. “To date the secretary has not met with us for such purposes. What we are asking for is that he meet as soon as possible with us in order to establish those protocols that will ensure the health and safety of both employees and citizens who visit the agency to receive services.”

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