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viernes, 23 de octubre de 2009

Union leaders and their acolytes want a showdown

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Caribbean Business CARLOS ROMERO BARCELÓ

The union leaders who now claim they want to discuss alternatives to the layoff of 17,000 government employees don’t really want to discuss anything. What they want is to make the governor back down. Why? Because then they would be the ones who would govern Puerto Rico, not the governor, the legislators and the other elected officials.

They won’t accept anything less than the governor’s surrender to their demands that Law 7 be revoked and all laid-off workers reinstated. The union leaders aren’t really motivated by concern for the government employees who have been laid off; they are motivated by the loss of union dues, by their political beliefs, by their envy of those who are wealthier than they are and, above all, by their struggle for political power to do as they please. If they get their way to have the governor and his administration back down, repeal Law 7 and negotiate some kind of “solution,” they would achieve a bloodless coup d’etat. If Gov. Fortuño were to surrender to their demands, our democratic form of government would be practically destroyed.

The will of the people, manifested in the general elections one year ago, would be overturned by self-appointed “leaders” of the community if Gov. Fortuño were to cave in to their demands. The union leaders and Methodist Bishop Vera lie to the people beginning with the name they have adopted for themselves. Todo Puerto Rico por Puerto Rico doesn’t represent all of Puerto Rico; that is a lie. The group doesn’t even represent a majority of Puerto Rico. They don’t even represent 10% of Puerto Rico. At the most, after days of massive media support for their so-called “national” strike, they were barely able to gather 15,000-20,000 supporters at their rally at the Plaza Las Américas and Hiram Bithorn intersection.

No one has authorized them, except the union leaders of the government workers’ unions in those agencies where workers were laid off. The rest of the union leaders, who don’t represent laid-off workers, have no standing to meet and negotiate on behalf of the dismissed workers. The religious leaders, such as Methodist Bishop Vera, have no authority nor have they been appointed to represent any laid-off workers nor to negotiate on their behalf. Their motivation is purely economic, political, or both. They are all antistatehood, anti-New Progressive Party and, regardless of what they say, are seeking ways to weaken and destabilize Fortuño’s administration and our democratic form of government.

It isn’t the governor’s job to meet with self-appointed leaders who haven’t shown any concern or sorrow over the dismissal of approximately 100,000 workers in private companies throughout the year. Catholic Archbishop González, who now pleads for all laid-off government workers, showed no mercy, sorrow or concern with all the teachers and employees the Catholic Church dismissed from all schools he closed during the year. He showed no mercy, sorrow or concern for the students on whom he closed the school doors and left it to their parents to look for another school. How hypocritical can you be!

If the governor meets with them, the union leaders will “demand” the governor do what they want. If the governor doesn’t agree, which he shouldn’t, the leaders will then use the extraordinary media event to criticize and perhaps even insult the governor, which seems to be on the way to becoming a favorite political strategy sponsored by the Popular [Democratic] Party leadership and the anti-American, antistatehood “union leaders.”

Even if the government’s $3 billion deficit could be paid up or covered this year, the government would still have to substantially reduce its payroll because otherwise the government would again be spending more than it could collect in revenue.

We must provide the investment climate that can attract and stimulate investment in Puerto Rico so many, many more than 20,000 new jobs can be available for the people.

The government’s priorities in services to the people are: public safety, education, health services, energy and water.

The direct jobs that government offers are those necessary to provide first-class government services. Many of the other services, which our government now provides, can be offered and carried out more efficiently and more economically by private enterprise. Whenever private enterprise can provide a public service more efficiently and at a lower cost to the public, we should allow private enterprise to do it. They, in turn, will provide the jobs.

It is precisely because it is becoming more obvious and therefore more acceptable that services provided today by government, very inefficiently and very expensively, can be provided at lower cost and more efficiently by private enterprise that we must reduce the size of government. To do so, the number of government employees must be reduced. We can’t keep burdening the middle class and workers with higher costs of government services and higher taxes when we know a way to lower costs and, as a result of reduced government expenditures, can lower taxes to the middle class and the workers.

The leaders of government-workers’ unions live off the union dues paid monthly by unionized government workers. Obviously, the more workers in the unions the more quotas the leaders receive. If three-quarters of the laid-off workers are union members, that means the unions will lose approximately 15,000 quotas, which will represent a loss of no less than about $1.5 million to the union.

No, Gov. Fortuño must definitely not meet with the leaders of Todo Puerto Rico con Puerto Rico, who have clearly demonstrated they want to destabilize our democratic form of government and smear Fortuño and gain control of the decision-making process. The spokespeople for the so-called “national” strike have shown an unwillingness to accept the economic fact that the government’s payroll is too high and very costly. They are unwilling to accept the fact that the excessive number of government employees has made government too bloated, too inefficient and too costly.

Unless they acknowledge that the government payroll must be significantly reduced now, there is no purpose for any such meeting. They know it, but they want to drag Fortuño into a meeting with them so they can then take advantage of the media to keep trying to build up support for their intended “peaceful revolution” and their planned class confrontation of the poor vs. the wealthy.

The reason the leaders of the “national strike” want a meeting with Fortuño is because they want to blame him personally for the dismissal of the government employees and claim he is a “fascist.” However, it is the union leaders who refused to consider alternatives offered and who have made up their minds to demand the repeal of Law 7, re-employment of all laid-off employees and not to give an inch. Meeting with the governor gives them credibility and legitimacy, for which purpose the governor won’t allow them to use him.

They want to escalate the confrontation. They particularly want to provoke violence and blame it on Fortuño. They are doing this with the help and support of the leadership of the Popular [Democratic] Party and most of the media. The Popular [Democratic] Party’s fingerprints are all over this scheme. This is their MO (modus operandi). Smear the leader of the opposition. They did it with García Méndez, with Luis Ferré, with me, with Rosselló and, now, they are doing it with Fortuño.

But this time, they are going too far.