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Support The Teachers Of Puerto Rico! Stop The SEIU Raid!
Date 08/10/10/09:24



Tuesday October 14, 5pm to 7pm

SEIU Offices - 330 W. 42 St (btw 8 & 9 Aves)

FMPR Support Committee--NY calls for a protest in front of SEIU's NYC office buildings. We denounce the actions of SEIU's leadership in Puerto Rico, including their betrayal of 42,000 striking teachers earlier this year and their subsequent raid against the teachers' elected bargaining representative, the Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR).

Now they have successfully excluded FMPR from competing in the ongoing elections for representation. The teachers' only "choice" is to vote yes or no to SEIU.

We say vote NO! An "election" with only one slate is a SHAM!

Andy Stern and Dennis Rivera have turned on a sister union and its members. They see Puerto Rico as a gateway to their absorption of trade unions in Latin America. SEIU's members did not direct this decision that insults their proud history of fighting for justice and dignity.

We condemn the anti-worker and colonial-expansionist actions of SEIU's leadership and reaffirm our solidarity with FMPR and those who defend democratic trade unions!

We appeal to our brothers and sisters in SEIU - tell Stern and Rivera: Stop the raid!

October 10, 2008

FMPR Support Committee-NY

to contact us:

FMPR IN Puerto Rico


An "election" to choose a union to represent the 42,000 teachers of Puerto Rico is taking place from October 1-16--but there is only one option on the ballot: SEIU's Puerto Rican affiliate, the Sindicato Puertorriqueño de Maestros (SPM).

The organization that has represented teachers for over 40 years, the Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR), Puerto Rico's largest union, has been excluded from the election. Teachers can "choose" SPM or no union. This is a sham election which offers teachers no real choice.


SPM was created two years ago by the Asociación de Maestros, an organization which represents school principals and administrators, to serve as a management-friendly union. The SPM/Asociación affiliated with SEIU in December 2007.

It is well-known on the island that the Asociación serves as the voice of the ruling Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) in the Department of Education--the teachers' employer. Thus the teachers of Puerto Rico have been offered a "choice" in this election between a union handpicked by their bosses--which serves the interests of their bosses!--or no union at all.


Dennis Rivera, Vice President of SEIU, is a key supporter and campaign contributor to PPD Governor Anibal Acevedo Vilá--who was instrumental in excluding FMPR from competing in the current election. The two met frequently in 2007, amidst tumultuous negotiations between FMPR and the government. According to the NY Daily News, Acevedo Vilá promised support for an SEIU raid against FMPR. Meanwhile, FMPR was negotiating to improve teachers' abysmal salaries and working conditions, address serious deficiencies in the school system and to thwart off privatization of education and militarization of the schools. SEIU's leadership should have supported this important labor struggle.


* 11/07--massive 7000+ assembly of FMPR teachers vote to authorize a strike as key issues remain unresolved--including many issues related to quality and access of public education
* 12/07--the SPM/Asociación, affiliates with SEIU in anticipation of raiding FMPR as exclusive representative
* 1/08--PR Dept. of Labor decertifes FMPR, based on the strike vote (public workers' strikes are not permitted under Law 45, similar to NY's Taylor Law). FMPR proceeds to represent teachers as a bonafide (non-profit worker organization permitted under Law 134)--how it functioned until 1999--while legally appealing ruling
* 2/08--teachers engage in 10 day strike with massive public support, squarely placing education on the island into the public discourse and defending the rights of public sector workers to utilize the strike weapon
* 2/08 to present--FMPR continues to represent teachers as a bonafide voluntary membership organization, utilizing all mechanisms at their disposal to defend teachers' and students' rights
* Spring/Summer 2008--FMPR receives more than12,000 endorsements to challenge any election raid attempts by SPM (with a legal requirement of 8,000 in order to appear on a ballot)
* 6/08--SEIU holds its convention in Puerto Rico, bringing millions of dollars to the island's economy, a feather in Acevedo's (and the PPD's) cap. A dissident movement for democracy rocks the convention inside while teachers demonstrate outside. SEIU leaders call in the police to surround the convention center and attack demonstrators
* 6/08--SEIU VP Dennis Rivera declared grand marshall of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, marching arm in arm with Acevedo Vilá
* 6/08--Under pressure to explain SEIU's position, Dennis Rivera announces at an 1199 Delegate Assembly that all SEIU wants is for the teachers of Puerto Rico to have a democratic choice: that the teachers have the right to choose between FMPR or SPM/SEIU
* Summer/08--FMPR loses appeals and remains legally decertified--prepares for an election, utilizing many volunteers, as their financial base is seriously compromised
* Summer/08--SEIU pumps massive amounts of its members' dues money into a concerted raid of FMPR, flooding the island with organizers
* 9/08--support for FMPR remains strong, in spite of SEIU's infusion of funds and campaigning--it is believed that SPM/SEIU would lose in a fair election
* 9/26/08--In a divided ruling, the Appellate Court rules that FMPR cannot participate in a vote
* 10/1/08--FMPR launches a "VOTE NO" campaign--as there is no choice for teachers on the ballot
* 10/08--exit polls indicate strong support for a NO vote--which is actually a vote for FMPR
* 10/08--FMPR is denied observer status during the vote, thus there is no assurance that the vote will be fair

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