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UPR wakes up on strike at 10 campuses

The gates at all but one of the University of Puerto Rico’s 11 campuses were closed on Thursday after the UPR Workers’ Union went on strike a day earlier.

By The Star Staff

The gates of 10 of the 11 campuses of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) were closed on Thursday after the UPR Workers’ Union went on strike a day earlier for better wages and improved health coverage.

The UPR-Mayagüez Campus (RUM) was not closed because its employees are represented by another union.

On Wednesday night, UPR President Dr. Luis Ferrao Delgado said in a written statement that: “Since I assumed the presidency of the University of Puerto Rico I have been, together with my team in Central Administration, in the best disposition to attend to the demands of the different unions of our university.”

“I have publicly acknowledged that there are needs for pay justice and that is why my administration is working on reviewing and updating the Classification and Pay Plan, which has not been reviewed in 44 years. We have held several meetings with Mr. David Muñoz [Hernández], president of the Workers’ Union, and his delegates to address their demands,” Ferrao Delgado noted in the statement. “During the process, we have made it clear that the granting of a salary increase and other benefits to our employees that carry budgetary impact is already contained in our budget request for the new budget (FY2024) and eventually this must be certified by the Fiscal Oversight Board (sic).”

“However,” the official added, “in order to address part of the demands made by the Union, we presented a genuine alternative: a non-recurring bonus of $2,125 for each employee of the Union. This equates to approximately a salary increase of $2,024 per month per year and a half. However, our offer was not accepted by the Union.”

Muñoz Hernández said it was explained to the union that for the new budget a request was made to the Office of Management and Budget for more than $129 million so that UPR can honor the minimum wage policy. He said he is confident that, if approved by the Financial Oversight and Management Board, “we can do the necessary wage justice.”

Ferrao Delgado also said in the statement that “regarding the claim of a single medical plan, Certification Number 2020, 2021-1 of the [UPR] Governing Board prevents us from accessing the Union’s claim and granting a medical plan different from that of all UPR employees.”

“Within the framework of this process of dialogue, we reiterate our invitation to reconsider the position of the Union to call a strike, which not only violates the best interests of the university community but also constitutes an open violation of the provisions of the Supplementary Rules and Conditions of Work of the Workers’ Union in its article 1 subsection H, which clearly states: ‘that the union, in consideration of what has been negotiated, undertakes with the university administration not to carry out activities such as strikes, work stoppages or any other variant of these that may affect services in any way,’” the university president said.

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