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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

UPR employees protest in effort to stop dismantling of retirement system


Janell Santana Andino, president of the Brotherhood of Non-Teaching Exempt Employees, said “we decided to paralyze the work in Human Resources, in the Presidency and in the Governing Board today so that the Certification is repealed,” referring to Certification 1 of 2023-2024, which was approved late last month by the University of Puerto Rico governing board.

By The Star Staff


The main organizations that group employees of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) prevented access to the human resources, president’s and governing board’s offices at the institution on Monday morning, seeking to stop what they believe is the dismantling of the current UPR Retirement System.


“Since the arrival of the Financial Oversight and Management Board in Puerto Rico and the interference of this unelected body in university affairs, there has been an ideological attack to dismantle the UPR’s defined benefits retirement plan,” María del Mar Rosa Rodríguez, president of the Puerto Rican Association of University Professors, said in a written statement.” The university administration, shamefully, has taken up this attack as one of its tasks. Although we have managed to stop all attempts to remove active employees and pensioners from the Retirement System, the university administration is now promoting, without dialogue and without consultation, to put all new employees in a savings plan and cut off their access to enter the Retirement System.”


Janell Santana Andino, president of the Brotherhood of Non-Teaching Exempt Employees (HEEND), added that “[l]ike thieves at night, the Governing Board approved Certification 1 of 2023-2024, which creates this savings plan, secretly, during the last week of July, in which a work recess had been decreed.”


“The certification establishes that this plan is approved upon the recommendation of the president of the UPR, Luis A. Ferrao,” she said. “Therefore, we decided to paralyze the work in Human Resources, in the Presidency and in the Governing Board today so that the Certification is repealed.”


Waldemiro Vélez Cardona, a member of the UPR Retirement Board, said “[t]his savings plan, far from providing security to people employed in the UPR, puts pensions at the mercy of market fluctuations, while the administration of the UPR makes a minimum employer contribution.”


“In addition, it has the effect of discouraging high-caliber personnel from coming to and staying at the UPR,” he said. “Even the legality of this plan is in question. There is a case currently in court, brought by the Retirement Board, which relies on the University Law to affirm that there cannot be two pension plans within the UPR, but only one.”


“The finances of the university cannot stand having two simultaneous plans,” Vélez Cardona continued. “Closing the Retirement System to new employees will lead to the employer’s contribution to the current system increasing, by order of the actuaries, so that it can fulfill its obligations. That is, this plan is more expensive for the university, and could make the university system unsustainable, not because of retirement, but because of budget cuts and these ideological moves.”

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