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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Union decries poor response to COVID outbreak at Labor Dept.

Mayra Rivera Cordero, organizing secretary of the General Workers Union

By The Star Staff

Mayra I. Rivera Cordero, the organizing secretary of the General Workers Union (UGT by its Spanish initials) charged over weekend that on the 10th floor of the central building of the Department of Labor and Human Resources (DTRH by its Spanish initials) in Hato Rey there has been a severe outbreak of COVID-19 and the management of the agency is failing to act to prevent the infection from continuing to spread throughout the facilities.

Rivera Cordero said that starting last week continuing into Saturday, there have been 10 known positive cases of the virus among the personnel working on that floor of the DTRH building, and the demands of the workers attempting to enforce the protocols to disinfect the facilities to prevent the disease and reorganize duties according to the current reality, have been totally ignored by their superiors.

“This situation is highly worrisome,” the union leader said. “We recognize that today there are alternative medicines to attack COVID, there is a high number of vaccinated people among the population, and individually the use of masks as a protective measure is practiced by a significant group of people, but this does not exempt the employers from ensuring compliance with their responsibility to provide adequate facilities, free of health and safety risks, for the development of the tasks of the personnel.”

The increase in cases, which began to become evident in the middle of last week, Rivera Cordero said, has not been addressed with the diligence and haste that the situation demands, despite the continuous claims of the union representatives in the DTRH and the workers who have been affected.

“We request that the Secretary of Labor, Gabriel Maldonado González, immediately order his personnel to take the necessary measures to protect the physical integrity of all the workers who work in the Department,” the union leader said. “Five Data Collectors of the Department of Statistics have also tested positive for COVID this [last] week. We must not overlook the persistence of the COVID epidemic on our island. The Department of Health reports some 300 new cases of infection and some 10 deaths per day due to this cause.”

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