The U.S. response to Christmas bonuses in Puerto Rico
The government of Puerto Rico recently announced that it will pay $120 million in Christmas bonuses to its workers this year. Wall Street is not happy with this, because just a few days later – on January 1, 2016 – a municipal bond payment of $957 million comes due. The Bloomberg News headline stated it very openly: “Puerto Rico Christmas bonuses pit workers against bondholders.”
Act No. 148 of June 30, 1969 requires all employers in Puerto Rico to pay bonuses to workers who labor more than 700 hours during the prior 12-month qualifying period. This law applies to the government of Puerto Rico, as well.
In other words, if the government of Puerto Rico did not pay Christmas bonuses, it would have broken its own law. This illegal act, would encourage every other employer on the island to break the bonus law, as well.
This does not matter to Wall Street. They routinely ignore Puerto Rican laws anyway.
And so, the US corporate media are criticizing Puerto Rico, for honoring its own law and distributing the Christmas bonus – because all that Wall Street cares about, is collecting on Puerto Rico’s “debt” to them.
The same old arguments and resentments crawled out of the woodwork: that Puerto Ricans had not “earned” this money, that somehow they did not “deserve” what every other US citizen enjoyed on the mainland.
Many of them did not even know, that all Puerto Ricans are US citizens, for the past 98 years.
Others thought that the “Euro” was the currency of Puerto Rico.
The ignorance and animosity was shocking – and it dripped down from every region, and nearly every state, of the USA.
As we enter 2016, and the US prepares a “Financial Control Authority” to rule over Puerto Rico, we should take note of these US “attitudes” and “opinions” toward the Puerto Ricans themselves.
Those attitudes and opinions, will soon be inflicted upon the entire island.