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Sunday, May 22, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesDELEGATE MEETS WITH UNION ON MOU

DELEGATE MEETS WITH UNION ON MOU

Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen and the leadership of several unions that represent V.I. workers had discussions this week on the initiatives to help the territory's financial crisis.
Union leaders voiced their concerns about the memorandum of understanding that was negotiated by Gov. Charles Turnbull and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt. The biggest issue in the memorandum is item seven, which states:
"Recurring General Fund deficits and unfunded current liabilities in recent years have, to a significant extent, been aggravated by collective bargaining agreements, whereby Government of the Virgin Islands employees enjoy greater bargaining rights than those enjoyed by Federal employees. In order to ensure fiscal solvency, the governor of the Virgin Islands will submit legislation to the Legislature of the Virgin Islands by June 30, 2000 that will conform Virgin Islands public labor relations law, including Act No. 4440, with Federal public labor relations law."
At the meetings, the delegate again underscored the position she stated on several radio talk shows last week, that the overriding issue is how the V.I. government will meet its current obligations to its employees, and avoid the continuous million-dollar debt owed to government workers.
"Any system or process that allows workers not to be paid money that is owed to them is obviously sick and needs to be fixed," she said.
The memorandum provides a broad agreement that says the V.I. government will take steps to reduce its deficit over a period of years. Christensen said the governor and Babbitt included the best ways they felt that could be done. She said provisions in the memorandum aren’t "etched in stone."
"I have conveyed this recommendation to the governor verbally and in writing, and suggested that he strongly consider amending this portion of the MOU," Christensen said. "I also took the opportunity to once again urge that the matter of the outstanding money owed to government employees be addressed."
She said that the position of some V.I. legislators that their authority has been usurped by the memorandum is far from the truth.
"They have always had the ability to reject any of the items included, which are
or will be before them, and most importantly, to exercise their leadership by enacting measures of their choice which could accomplish the same necessary end — bringing our spending in line with our revenues," she said.

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Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christensen and the leadership of several unions that represent V.I. workers had discussions this week on the initiatives to help the territory's financial crisis.
Union leaders voiced their concerns about the memorandum of understanding that was negotiated by Gov. Charles Turnbull and Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt. The biggest issue in the memorandum is item seven, which states:
"Recurring General Fund deficits and unfunded current liabilities in recent years have, to a significant extent, been aggravated by collective bargaining agreements, whereby Government of the Virgin Islands employees enjoy greater bargaining rights than those enjoyed by Federal employees. In order to ensure fiscal solvency, the governor of the Virgin Islands will submit legislation to the Legislature of the Virgin Islands by June 30, 2000 that will conform Virgin Islands public labor relations law, including Act No. 4440, with Federal public labor relations law."
At the meetings, the delegate again underscored the position she stated on several radio talk shows last week, that the overriding issue is how the V.I. government will meet its current obligations to its employees, and avoid the continuous million-dollar debt owed to government workers.
"Any system or process that allows workers not to be paid money that is owed to them is obviously sick and needs to be fixed," she said.
The memorandum provides a broad agreement that says the V.I. government will take steps to reduce its deficit over a period of years. Christensen said the governor and Babbitt included the best ways they felt that could be done. She said provisions in the memorandum aren’t "etched in stone."
"I have conveyed this recommendation to the governor verbally and in writing, and suggested that he strongly consider amending this portion of the MOU," Christensen said. "I also took the opportunity to once again urge that the matter of the outstanding money owed to government employees be addressed."
She said that the position of some V.I. legislators that their authority has been usurped by the memorandum is far from the truth.
"They have always had the ability to reject any of the items included, which are
or will be before them, and most importantly, to exercise their leadership by enacting measures of their choice which could accomplish the same necessary end -- bringing our spending in line with our revenues," she said.