Puerto Rican Teachers Union Protests SEIU Raid
Outside the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) convention in Puerto Rico, Saturday, May 31, members of the Puerto Rican teachers union were attacked by riot police when they attempted to distribute fliers. The fliers were critical of SEIU for making a deal with Governor Acevedo Vila for SEIU to replace the militant teachers union in February.
The Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (FMPR – Federation of Teachers of Puerto Rico), representing 42,000 teachers, called a strike in February, almost three years after their last contract expired. Over 7000 members of the union unanimously voted to strike in November 2007. The strike for decent wages and against privatization lasted 10 days. Before the strike even took place, the governor declared the strike illegal and told SEIU vice President Dennis Rivera that the union is “yours to take.”
This example of selling out a strike in a country oppressed by U.S. imperialism is perhaps the worst example of business unionism. The SEIU convention is rocked by internal debates about deal making with bosses instead of class struggle to advance the interests of workers.