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Puerto Rican teachers protest AFT hearings in San Juan

Special To Labornet

HUNDREDS OF PUERTO Rican teachers and other trade unionists  picketed  at the Normandie Hotel in San Juan June 7th. The AFT national leadership's takeover of the 40,00 member local has angered not only teachers but many other trade unionists throughout the country. The AFT is seeking to put the FMPR in trusteeship. "Chupa cuotas" on one of the signs translates as "dues suckers".

The AFL-CIO including the SEIU and AFSCME have signed deals with local Puerto Rican politicians to take control of the union movement in Puerto Rico. Andy Stern and the SEIU negotiated with  a previous governor to privatize the healthcare system of P.R.  in return for the workers being pushed into the SEIU. These deals and the continuing collaboration with the bosses has led to a backlash in the Puerto Rican working class against the "business unionism" of the US trade unions. Recently the "Sindicato de Bomberos Unidos" (firefighters union) successfully disaffiliated from AFSCME.  The "Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico" (Puerto Rican Teachers Federation) disaffiliated from the Amercan Federation of Teachers and now the AFT pretends to put the FMPR in trusteeship. This comes as no surprise as the FMPR was the AFT's second largest local (with over 40,000 teachers) and represented an income of $2.6 million a year in per capita dues. Puerto Rican independent unions are going to picket the hearings in support of the FMPR's disaffilliation.

With contribution and pictures by labor educator Carlos Quirós
The web site of the Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR) is: www.fmprlucha.org (In Spanish)
The email address to send solidarity messages is: endefensa@fmprlucha.org

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