Struggle to Gain Agreement for Employees of the UPR

By Judith Valentín Ramos

Since 2009 the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) is facing a critical economic situation, which negatively affects the entire university sector. Employees of the University of Puerto Rico belong to the Brotherhood of Teachers Not Exempt Employees (HEEND) and to the Labour Federation of University Employees Mayaguez Campus (FLEURUM).

These unions are supposed to fight for the employees’ rights and to negotiate their benefits with the university administration. Both had an agreement for 2007-2010, which is stipulated in the rules, conditions and employee rights.

Currently the leaders of these two unions are negotiation reached an agreement with the administration, which doesn’t want to honor many of the rights or benefits that were in the last agreement.

Union members discussed the issues of the Convention.

One of the stuff that gets left by the lack of agreement is wage increases since fiscal year 2009-2010. Sent a notice on June 17, 2009 in which Victor F. Rivera Rodríguez, director of Human Resources confirms the status of wage increases.

“Not authorized to grant salary increases to July 1, 2009, or after that date, to any university employee including special assignment personnel, although the federal proposal from which their salaries so provides” Rivera said.

According to the Convention Article 96 – Salaries effective July 1, 2007 “the University Administration granted to any member, permanent appointment, probational, special, contract and temporary substitute serving full time, an increase in salary, effective at July 1, 2008. Effective July 1, 2009, the staff mentioned above will receive an increase in their salaries up to one hundred forty ($ 140.00) per month. ”

They also face difficulty with the University Health Plan. The agreement of the HEEND and FLEURUM 2007-2010, states that “The University will cover the cost of Medical Plan Coverage as described in the Auction No. 07-05 fiscal year 2007. The University will recognize a single employer contribution per household”.

The Administration also agreed that by 2007-2010 the parties will meet to negotiate the design, terms and conditions and implementation of the new Health Plan One and the way they will cover the cost of this benefit, without excluding any option.

But now for the UPR Health Plan costs can not exceed $ 500.00 in January 2011, eliminating what is now the Single Plan. Creating difficulty to many employees who have health conditions covered by the plan. Prices have increased deductibles and copayments in the different insurers, is likely to adversely affect many employees that can’t cover the cost of your health plan.

The Mayagüez Campus is one of the eleven precincts facing economic problems.

All employees who belong to the FLEURUM or HEEND entitled to receive payment under the sick leave accumulated and not used in excess (90) ninety days. The last payment received was in February of this year, because they always paid on the final payroll of February.

This situation results in employee absenteeism. Daily in the various departments are absent from 1 to 3 employees seeking to exhaust these days for which they will not receive monetary compensation. The Federation and the Brotherhood exhort their partners not to lose their sick.

“Not all employees can deplete these days before December 31, 2010, because they are indispensable in your work area”, said Monserrate Cruz, an employee at the Technical Civil Engineering Laboratory at UPRM.

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