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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Union says island gov’t is violating court order

By The Star Staff

The American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has accused Puerto Rico’s commonwealth government of violating a court order when it refused to execute certain labor contracts.

The contracts of employees under AFSCME jurisdiction belong to a separate collective bargaining unit represented jointly by AFSCME and the Service Employees International Union. The commonwealth, despite a January court order, has refused to execute a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with employees represented by that unit more than two years after the commonwealth’s plan of adjustment became effective and it exited bankruptcy. Puerto Rico is asking to modify language governing which employees AFSCME represents, violating the court order, AFSCME says.

AFSCME asked the court to enforce the plan and require that the CBAs be executed.

“In spite of the January order’s express language and AFSCME’s reasoned explanation offered in response to the commonwealth’s request, the commonwealth continues to refuse to execute the [relevant] CBA in willful violation of the January order,” AFSCME said in its motion. “With no clear path toward a resolution in which the commonwealth complies with the January order, judicial intervention is necessary to compel performance and to ensure that thousands of AFSCME-represented public employees continue to serve the commonwealth and its citizens with enforceable collectively bargained-for contract rights.”

Separately, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) contractor Cobra Acquisitions asked the court yet again this week for payment of the remaining $406 million it alleges it is owed for helping restore the island grid after it was destroyed by the 2017 hurricane season. PREPA’s bankruptcy has yet to be settled.

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