Press Release

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Puerto Rico Fiscal Plan

Hedge funds and bond insurance companies are bleeding the people of Puerto Rico dry.  If they have their way, our fellow citizens who live in the Commonwealth will face worsening mass poverty and a future without hope.  The people of Puerto Rico have suffered and made enormous sacrifices.  The same cannot be said for Wall Street. Puerto Rico must be allowed to restructure its debt to Wall Street, meet its obligations to its retired public servants, and preserve and create good jobs that can provide a future of shared prosperity.  At the same time, there is no way for Puerto Rico to recover economically unless it is treated fairly by the federal government and fully included in key federal programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Medicaid.

The AFL-CIO opposed the PROMESA bill because it fundamentally infringed on the right of the people of Puerto Rico to democratic self governance and failed to put the interest of working families first.  We continue to offer our solidarity to the people of Puerto Rico in their struggle to defend their right to self-government.

Today, the governor of Puerto Rico provided a fiscal plan, as the PROMESA law required, to the Oversight Board.  That plan provides for the restructuring of Puerto Rico’s unbearable debts to Wall Street and for the payment of pensions to Puerto Rico’s public servants. And although the plan starts to turn away from the catastrophic austerity policies that have led to Puerto Rico’s current crisis, there is more work needed in this direction. For example, we must completely turn away from attacks on Puerto Rico's labor laws that will only impoverish working people and worsen the crisis.

The Oversight Board now has the responsibility to protect the people of Puerto Rico.  The Board must turn away from neo-liberalism and austerity and must reject calls from Wall Street to attack the working people of Puerto Rico.

Every day the board delays adopting a fiscal plan that restructures the Commonwealth’s debt and protects pensions and good jobs will be another day in which the daily lives of Puerto Ricans get worse. 

Contact: Carolyn Bobb (202) 637-5018