For too long, our dedicated government employees have been undervalued and underpaid. Despite their hard work and commitment to serving our community, they have been consistently let down by broken promises from our leaders. But now, there is hope on the horizon.
Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s recent article highlights the impressive achievements of our government in recent months, including being deficit-free, providing small business owners with tax relief, and exceeding budgeted revenue by millions. However, despite these clear signs of progress, there are still those who question the proposed pay adjustments for our public sector employees who have not seen a meaningful raise in nearly a decade.
As a union representing these employees, we find it disheartening to see such opposition to their well-deserved pay increase. Some have even called it “selfish,” which is a gross misrepresentation of the hardworking individuals who have dedicated their careers to serving our community. These employees, including teachers, nurses, and law enforcement personnel, have consistently been a priority for our government, and it’s time for their efforts to be recognized and rewarded.
It’s important to remember that the 2014 Hay Plan, which included a pay raise for senators and retroactive pay for politicians, was a proposal put forth by a Republican Governor when the island was facing a deficit of $59.6 million and a growing long-term debt. It was also a wage compression that lifted new employees but left the long-term employees behind. In stark contrast, Governor Leon Guerrero’s plan prioritizes all the rank and file employees and comes at a time of financial stability, with money going into the Rainy Day Fund and improved cash reserves.
We cannot let political biases cloud our judgment and prevent us from valuing and supporting our hardworking government employees. It’s time for them to receive the fair and just compensation they deserve for their dedicated service.