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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Union demands implementation of minimum wage hike July 1

Labor & Human Resources Secretary Gabriel Maldonado González

By The Star Staff

The Trade Union Solidarity Movement (MSS by its initials in Spanish), a private sector union, demanded on Wednesday that Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia and Labor Secretary Gabriel Maldonado González execute the minimum wage hike to $10.50 on July 1.

“At this time, the Minimum Wage Evaluation Commission remains silent on the minimum wage increase that should begin July 1,” union representative José Rodríguez Vélez said. “The working class, which depends on a minimum wage to cover basic needs, cannot be [subjected to] partisan revenge on the part of the government in power by not providing the minimum wage increase that workers in private companies deserve.”

The MSS represents hundreds of employees of private companies in Puerto Rico, mainly Pepsi Cola, Coca-Cola, and Partner Business Services.

“The cost of living has increased drastically in recent years, and while the governor was campaigning, and although he said that the economy was buoyant, now that the political landscape has changed after the primaries, he is silent on the issue of minimum wage,” Rodríguez Vélez continued. “The outgoing government must do salary justice to the sector in private companies …”

The union leader said he requested a meeting with Maldonado González to discuss the issue, but his petition was ignored.

“The only thing we can think of is that they do not want to show their face to the defenders of the working class, and will rely on employer recommendations to punish workers who are deprived of a union that guarantees them raises.”

Regarding the Committee to Evaluate the Minimum Wage, the union spokesman said “it is a disaster that the unions that represent enrollments in the private sector were never summoned to give our recommendations on the matter.”

“They only went to listen to the employers’ unions, such as MIDA, CUD, and ASORE to find out their feelings,” he said. “It is clear that these employer associations are not going to want to increase a single cent.”

“There is a Labor Reform that eliminated rights and benefits in the private sector; failure to comply with the planned increase of $10.50 would be another betrayal of the working class,” Rodríguez Vélez said. “We demand that the Evaluation Committee, Governor Pedro Pierlusi and Gabriel Maldonado make way for the increase and do true justice to the employees and their families who deserve it. Leave the administration with dignity and do not be vindictive against the working people.”

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