SAN JUAN Despite the fact that they brag and make promises in the campaign, the majority of the candidates for governor turned their backs on the workers by not signing an agreement of 20 commitments to defend their rights, denounced this Thursday, the president of the Federation of Workers of Puerto Rico (FTPR-AFLCIO), José Rodríguez Báez.
He mentioned that the document was intended to measure the aspirants’ commitment to labor rights, but also to the search for solutions to social ills that concern working people.
“Beyond saying that they do not support more cuts and taxes, the union members of the country demand a strong commitment. We need a governor or governor who shows us that he really believes in the rights and issues that matter to working people, ”said the president of the FTPR in written communication.
The agreement with the 20 commitments was sent to the six candidates for governor on Friday, October 9. The deadline to reply expired last Monday, October 19.
Senator Juan Dalmau Ramírez, a candidate for governor for the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), was the only one of the six candidates who signed the pact on October 17, he explained.
“In the Federation we exhort the working people to be very prudent and to evaluate the candidates well before exercising their right to vote. Examine your government plans and judge whether or not you are on the side of the workers. This exercise that we did at the FTPR is an example of where their loyalties lie, ”said Rodríguez Báez.
He said that the document of commitments required that the candidates commit to respect the benefits acquired and repeal the labor reform, to promote wage equity for female workers, increase the minimum wage to $ 15, promote decent and quality jobs, and promote training and retraining in technical and innovation areas. Likewise, they demanded that the applicants guarantee the collective agreements and that they reopen the negotiation process in the government in June of next year.
The workers demanded that the candidates commit to unionization, that they reject the imposition of more austerity and fiscal emergency laws and any measure that threatens job security. In addition, they demanded a commitment to the permanence of temporary or contract employees in regular functions, to protect the retirement systems and to carry out a tax reform that does justice to working families. They required that the Environmental Quality Board be excluded from the reorganization of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources because it represented a conflict of interest with the functions of both agencies.
The document of commitments also sought to ensure that the applicants reject privatization, guarantee a universal health system, defend the public education system and promote educational reform. They also advocated that the candidates commit to the University of Puerto Rico declaring it an essential service and respecting the budget formula.
They demanded that the applicants allocate resources to the recovery of the country, guaranteeing jobs and the inclusion of communities. They also required that they commit to fighting corruption and establishing transparency programs to combat it.
The Puerto Rico Workers’ Federation (FTPR-AFLCIO) represents more than 40 thousand public and private sector employees grouped under local affiliates to the AFL-CIO, in support of a program to protect, maintain and advance the interests of the class worker from Puerto Rico.