AFT President Randi Weingarten on Approval of Puerto Rico’s Debt Restructuring Deal
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on approval of Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring deal:
"Yesterday was a devastating day for teachers in Puerto Rico. The federal bankruptcy plan froze teacher pensions. Adding insult to injury, the average teacher pay is lower in Puerto Rico than in every state in the continental United States. The bankruptcy court action comes after everything educators have done over the last several years to keep the public education system going and help educate children through earthquakes, hurricanes and the pandemic. History will record that politicians and those who pretend to support teachers falsely promised that they would protect their pensions. These misleading promises led teachers to twice turn down over $1 billion in benefits in order to stop the attacks on their pensions. That these promises were not kept speaks volumes about the character of those who made them. It’s a shameful betrayal of trust.
"As the budget continues to be finalized over the next few weeks, we will continue to fight for our respect and dignity. We call upon the oversight board, the governor and leaders of the House and Senate to do what is fair and just and give Puerto Rico’s teachers the pay raise that is long overdue and that they deserve. Enough is enough. No more broken promises."
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.