AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, UFCW and the Central Puertorriqueña de Trabajadores Sell out Public Workers in Puerto Rico

prlabor.jpgOn May 19, 2011 over 40 Puerto Rican trade union leaders from AFSCME Council 95, (Servidores Públicos Unidos/ Public Servants United’s José La Luz), the UAW, the United Food and Commercial Workers (Luisa Acevedo, Federación Central de Trabajadores/Central Federation of Workers) and the AFL-CIO (Lole Rodríguez Báez) and Federico Torres Montalvo from the Central Puertorriqueña de Trabajadores (CLAT, CMT) celebrated the reinstatement of the public employee collective bargaining law by the archreactionary, anti-worker, neoliberal "Tea-Party" colonial governor of Puerto Rico, Luis Fortuño and the president of the colonial senate, Rivera Schatz.

The leaders applauded the signing of Law 2079 that extended their collective bargaining agreements for two years by the same repressive government that used Law #7 to declare a fiscal emergency and lay off 30,000 public employees while promoting the privatization of government agencies, the public education system (kindergarten through 12th grade) and the University of Puerto Rico) through its program of public-private "partnerships."

They celebrated a law that didn’t even guarantee the economic clauses of union contracts.  It  tied its implementation to the fiscal health of the agencies where union members work. Abayardo Rojo, the newspaper of the Puerto Rican Communist Party, pointed out that signers of the law were the same far right "that didn’t allow the union leaders to enter the legislature and called on the riot police to stop them. The truth is that the their cowardice has led them to wag their tails for crumbs. They are well trained! After all, their dues bones are guaranteed for two more years."

This move by these unions leaves their laid-off fellow workers out in the cold. It also takes a large group of workers out of the struggle against the neoliberal policies of a thuggish government that is attempting to eliminate all that is Puerto Rican under the guise of a fiscal emergency. It gives the false impression that one can work within a colonial system that is bankrupt and cannot solve the problems that Puerto Rico faces.

The Puerto Rican working class is an essential part of the struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico. Workers’ organizations that promote a classless vision of economic struggle are neither the friends nor the representatives of the best interests of the people of Puerto Rico.

They are nothing more than the servants of the imperial interests of the US ruling class that talks "democracy," but promotes a subservient relationship for Puerto Rico.

This is not the labor movement that Puerto Rico needs.

August 5, 2011