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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, June 30, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesUNION HEAD SAYS V.I. DIVERTING HEAD START MONIES

UNION HEAD SAYS V.I. DIVERTING HEAD START MONIES

The president of the Virgin Islands Workers Union, Ralph Mandrew, is appealing to V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christiansen for assistance in getting federal salary increases to more than 200 Head Start employees, and he suggested the V.I. government is using those federal dollars to cover its operating expenses.
Head Start employees in the territory are employed locally but paid by the federal government, which also provides cost of living increases and other salary adjustments. But according to Mandrew, the salary adjustments aren't happening.
He also accused the Office of Collective Bargaining of delaying the resumption of talks with his union. "My union has signed stipulations to negotiate increases for the workers for 1999-2000, but as yet no dates for negotiations have been announced," Mandrew said.
The federal government has also assured him that upwards of $14 million has been allocated to cover the salary increases for the years in question, Mandrew noted. The delays, he said, are endangering the federal Head Start program in the Virgin Islands.
"I intend to go to the regional director of the program to explain the situation but I have asked as a matter of courtesy the delegate to assist our cause," Mandrew said.
Mandrew on Monday said payment to the federally paid employees is being held up because it the local government is using the monies provided by the federal government to cover operational expenses of the cash strapped government. "While the Commissioner of Human Services is someone of compassion and would want to see these employees paid, I believe it is the posture of the government to stall the talks with the OCB to block the raises from taking effect," he said.
Mandrew said the Turnbull administration continues to place union demands and needs on the back burner. "I will not sit by and allow the government to stall on this issue because the federal government has paid and is paying the raises for these Head Start employees," he said.
He also expressed annoyance that at a time when employees cannot get their increases, they are being told that the cost of insurance coverage and other fringe benefits is increasing.

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The president of the Virgin Islands Workers Union, Ralph Mandrew, is appealing to V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna Christian Christiansen for assistance in getting federal salary increases to more than 200 Head Start employees, and he suggested the V.I. government is using those federal dollars to cover its operating expenses.
Head Start employees in the territory are employed locally but paid by the federal government, which also provides cost of living increases and other salary adjustments. But according to Mandrew, the salary adjustments aren't happening.
He also accused the Office of Collective Bargaining of delaying the resumption of talks with his union. "My union has signed stipulations to negotiate increases for the workers for 1999-2000, but as yet no dates for negotiations have been announced," Mandrew said.
The federal government has also assured him that upwards of $14 million has been allocated to cover the salary increases for the years in question, Mandrew noted. The delays, he said, are endangering the federal Head Start program in the Virgin Islands.
"I intend to go to the regional director of the program to explain the situation but I have asked as a matter of courtesy the delegate to assist our cause," Mandrew said.
Mandrew on Monday said payment to the federally paid employees is being held up because it the local government is using the monies provided by the federal government to cover operational expenses of the cash strapped government. "While the Commissioner of Human Services is someone of compassion and would want to see these employees paid, I believe it is the posture of the government to stall the talks with the OCB to block the raises from taking effect," he said.
Mandrew said the Turnbull administration continues to place union demands and needs on the back burner. "I will not sit by and allow the government to stall on this issue because the federal government has paid and is paying the raises for these Head Start employees," he said.
He also expressed annoyance that at a time when employees cannot get their increases, they are being told that the cost of insurance coverage and other fringe benefits is increasing.