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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

UPR employees allow access to campus while still on strike

In-person classes were slated to begin Friday at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras Campus, where maintenance and beautification workers are on strike.

By The Star Staff

Under a court order, striking employees of the Workers’ Union of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) allowed free access to the UPR Río Piedras Campus on Thursday while maintaining their work stoppage.

The union, which groups maintenance and beautification employees, complied with the decision of Judge Anthony Cuevas, who ordered the union not to block access to the campus. Meanwhile, the striking workers remained firm in their claims.

According to press reports, Idalia Maldonado Colón, a union delegate, said that “no union employee is going to work.”

“That means no maintenance, no plumbing, no electricians, nothing,” she said. “The one who enters enters at his or her own risk, to see what happens. But we stand up and at the gates, in front without obstructing the entrance.”

Meanwhile, Río Piedras Campus Chancellor Angélica Varela Llavona said via a memo that administrative work on the campus would begin Thursday, while classes would be taught virtually on Thursday and would begin in person on Friday.

The union has called on workers at other campuses to join the strike demanding wage justice. The group at the Río Piedras campus has about 200 workers.

Regarding statements by UPR President Luis Ferrao Delgado that the wage increase demand was met after the Financial Oversight and Management Board approved the funds, the workers pointed out that that increase was not what had been agreed upon.

“The agreements were retroactive from the $8.50 [per hour] from 2021 to 2022, which is like $2,000. … [B]ut he’s just giving us the $9.50 raise retroactive to July,” Maldonado Colón told a television reporter. “We want the complete agreements that were signed in February to be fulfilled, to keep his word and what he signed yesterday.”

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