SAN JUAN – The president of the UTIER, Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, said on Monday that he was not surprised that the UITICE was selected by LUMA Energy as the exclusive representative of the consortium’s employees and called the process one without elections and “a clear conspiracy of Héctor Reyes, president of the UITICE for not looking after the best interests of the workers and the people ”.
“We are not surprised, this was already known and could be seen coming. Before LUMA came into operation, this abuse of the workers was already being ironed out between the employer and UITICE. The trajectory of Héctor Reyes speaks for itself, the betrayal and leaving his clients alone, is his letter of introduction. We saw how, in the transition process, he turned his back on his registration, which the vast majority of them repudiated the contract, to go after the crumbs that LUMA offered him. Enrollment that assemblies repeatedly requested and that Reyes canceled. Furthermore, it did nothing to guarantee workers’ rights through the successor employer bill. If he treated his clients that way, what can be expected to do now? Nothing different, “said Figueroa Jaramillo in a written statement.
The President of the UTIER pointed out that the union selection process was undemocratic because it did not allow elections and technically it was the employer who selected the union to represent its employees.
“When the employer is the one who selects the union that is going to represent their employees, one already has the idea of what that relationship will be like. You will see a union that is not going to supervise the employer, that is not going to ensure the best interests of its enrollment. A union and a president who are sold for any crumb that the employer offers them and with the trajectory of Héctor Reyes, that is, unfortunately, what they can expect from this union-employer relationship, “said Figueroa Jaramillo.
The union leader reiterated that the UTIER will continue to fight against the contract with LUMA Energy “that increases the rate and does not guarantee an improvement in the electrical system as it has demonstrated.”
He also added that they are working on the creation of a structure that will group all the employees of the Electric Power Authority (PREPA) who were mobilized to other government agencies.
“The UTIER is alive and will continue alive and with more force. In the coming weeks we will present a new organization that will bring together the entire energy family that passed to different agencies. All managerial and union workers may be part of this new instrumentality, including those who belonged to UITICE, and whom Héctor Reyes left totally alone in this process. Many thought that with these moves they were going to weaken the UTIER, but they did not know that we are growing and that we are stronger ”, concluded Figueroa Jaramillo.
LUMA Energy reveals agreement with the UITICE union
LUMA Energy, operator of the electric power transmission and distribution system in Puerto Rico since June 1, 2021, confirmed this Monday that the Insular Union of Industrial Workers and Electrical Constructions (UITICE) formally requested recognition as an exclusive representative of collective bargaining for an employee bargaining unit.
In a written statement, LUMA Energy confirmed that “UITICE has achieved majority representation, confirmed by an impartial arbitrator, and recognizes UITICE as the bargaining representative of a LUMA employee bargaining unit. LUMA hopes to begin negotiations regarding a collective agreement and establish a relationship with the Union, governed by the National Labor Relations Law ”.
“LUMA believes in instituting modern labor relations with its workforce that align with the Company’s goals of providing healthy and safe working conditions, exceptional customer service, a transformation of Puerto Rico’s electric power supply system, standard compensation industry, equal opportunity and promoting a diverse workforce. LUMA anticipates that any future collective bargaining agreement will be consistent with the Company’s objectives and will allow LUMA to conduct its business for the benefit of the people, companies, the government of Puerto Rico and LUMA’s employees, ”the company indicated.
“LUMA’s parent companies have thousands of unionized employees and maintain constructive relationships with the unions. LUMA looks forward to the opportunity to do the same in Puerto Rico, ”concluded the LUMA Energy statement.
UITICE confirms representation
Héctor Reyes, president of the UITICE, confirmed in a radio interview with Normando Valentín en la Mañana on Notiuno 630 that they informed LUMA Energy of the availability to initiate a negotiation of a collective agreement between both parties.
“We had formally requested exclusive representation. And basically we just got informed, we also found out about LUMA’s (Energy) decision in favor of our request, ”Reyes said.