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Vol. 78/No. 4      February 3, 2014

Puerto Rico teachers
strike over pension cuts

Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico

Thousands of teachers in Puerto Rico, a U.S. colony, shut down schools across the island Jan. 14 and 15 to protest a new law that guts their pensions. The strike was called by Puerto Rico’s Teachers’ Association, the Teachers Federation of Puerto Rico and other unions.

“Until now teachers who retired after 30 years received a pension of 75 percent of their salary,” Teachers’ Association leader José Meléndez told the Militant Jan. 21. “Under the new law it basically becomes a savings plan tied to the ups and downs of investments. The government is carrying out the interests of the bondholders.”

“The biggest blow is that this is going to reduce the income of retired teachers,” Teachers Federation President María Lara said in a phone interview. “Teachers will pay more while they’re working and receive less when they retire.” The law raises the retirement age to 62 from 55 for new hires and suspends payments for retirees if teachers earn more than $1,000 a month at another job.

Above, teachers protest in front of the Labor Department.



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