Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, June 18, 2010


This story leaves me feeling inspired today:

MIAMI — Thousands of students at the University of Puerto Rico who went on strike two months ago to oppose severe budget cuts declared victory on Thursday after reaching an agreement with administrators.

As part of a deal brokered by a court-appointed mediator, students would end their strike — one of the largest and longest such walkouts in Puerto Rican history — in exchange for a number of concessions. Most notably, the university’s Board of Regents has agreed to cancel a special fee that would have effectively doubled the cost to attend the university’s 11 public campuses.

The deal also includes a promise that there will be no sanctions against strike organizers, who clashed at times with the police at the main Río Piedras campus outside San Juan.

The accord must still be approved by a general assembly of university students, which is expected Monday. Christopher Powers, a literature professor at the Mayagüez campus, said it was “nearly a complete victory for the students,” noting that they failed to get a promise that there would be no large tuition increase next year. Professor Powers said planned cuts later this year to the salaries and benefits of professors could set off another round of conflict.

“The fact that a student movement was able to force the administration and the government to sit down at the negotiating table and concede to nearly all their demands is a very important precedent,” Professor Powers said. “It will serve as an inspiration.”

Every once in a while, the little people in this world gain a small (and usually temporary) victory over the large moneyed interests that run things.

That's what happened in Puerto Rico.


  1. A good part of the reason they won is the fact that the Puerto Rican teachers union - FMPR - is very strong and has battle back against a repressive government. They lost dues checkoff after striking and over 12,000 people kept paying. Imagine if that happened to the UFT - which is why they will never strike.

    The president of the FMPR has been here in NYC a few times to talk about how the union there is organized. They pulled out of the AFT and endured court battles and attempts to undermine them.

  2. Yeah, I cannot imagine our union )or UFT members) standing tall against anything.

    There is an interesting article in the NJ paper talking about the militancy that is returning to the NJEA now that Christie has turned public opinion against teachers. The gist is that younger teachers are shocked by the animosity the public has for teachers these days and are starting to get involved in the union because they realize it is their only protection.

    Of course here in NYC, some younger teachers are slamming down shots of bourbon with Chancellor Klein...

  3. Those younger teachers are leaving as expected. At least we are seeing some young teachers popping among the activists. Not a lot - yet - I hope.