The Private Sector Coalition and representatives of 17 labor unions signed a “historic” Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate with and support federal initiatives that spur socioeconomic development in Puerto Rico.
The signing took place during a morning news conference Tuesday, when they also announced the creation of a permanent work group whose mission is to “promote dialogue and seek consensus on common issues.”
“We acknowledge the need for good jobs and rights for workers. We’ll never move forward to economic recovery if we don’t increase demand, and that only happens when workers have good jobs with living wages and good working conditions,” the MOU that will be sent to Congress and President Barack Obama states. “If we’re looking for a real, long-term fix for our economy, this is it.”
The agreement establishes that both groups — which represent a combined 1.1 million workers in the public and private sectors — will support with actions and resources lobbying efforts in favor of the American Jobs Act of 2011 and the Puerto Rico Investment Promotion Act. Lobbying will take place both on the island and in Washington, where the Acts are under consideration.
“There are real possibilities of approval of these measures at the federal level that will benefit Puerto Rico in terms of attracting investments to create jobs and the economic development that we need to pull the island out of its crisis,” said Francisco Rodríguez-Castro, president of the Private Sector Coalition.
During the news conference, labor leader José Rodríguez Báez said the two legislative pieces could positively affect the island’s labor force, “which is hungry for well-paid, stable jobs in which they are not asked to give up their rights.”
“Maybe these aren’t permanent solutions, which would come from a combination of these and other community, cooperative and self-employment measures. But they are remedies that the economy and Puerto Rican families urgently need,” Rodríguez Báez added.