Puerto Rico Union Allegedly Refuses to Deliver US Aid, On Strike Because of Local Law

from The Epoch Times

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Relief supplies given to San Juan, Puerto Rico, by the Trump administration are allegedly sitting at the ports, as truck drivers with a local union refuse to deliver the supplies. A local mayor and President Donald Trump have accused San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto of playing politics with the failures in the distribution …


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Puerto Rico Union Allegedly Refuses to Deliver US Aid, On Strike Because of Local Law

The CNBC article quoted within this article states that the truckers are unable to get to work because of the lack of fuel, and their companies are unable to get in touch with them because 91% of the island does not have working cell coverage. The text next to the video on the CNBC site reads: "CNBC's Contessa Brewer reports on growing frustration in Puerto Rico as a lack of fuel for trucks is blocking delivery of much-needed supplies."


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as truck drivers with a local union refuse to deliver the supplies

Truckers are unable to deliver supplies because of a lack of fuel not because they refuse to do so.


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The law caused a rift with unions by placing control and regulation of public transportation in Puerto Rico under the local Public Service Commission.

The article cited is about a law governing Uber and other taxi services and does not make any mention of truckers.


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The International Teamsters Union published a notice on its website on Sept. 29 to recruit volunteer drivers from across the United States to help transport supplies in Puerto Rico. It states, “the labor movement is working on the ground in Puerto Rico to bring volunteers to meet specific needs.”

The notice cited here asks for a lot more than truck drivers ("Additionally, the Teamsters Freight, Airline, Passenger Transport, Package, Public Services and Waste Divisions are contacting Teamster employers that operate in Puerto Rico and our local unions throughout the United States and Canada to identify avenues of support and volunteers."). It also specifically notes that it's currently unclear if there are adequate trucks, fuel, and operable roads available: "At this time, it is unclear if there are trucks available to move the containers, fuel to operate the trucks or road access to the distribution centers. However, the labor movement is working on the ground in Puerto Rico to bring volunteers to meet specific needs."


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Local media have reported a different reason: truck drivers with the Puerto Rican Teamsters Union, Frente Amplio, are allegedly refusing to move the supplies. According to the local TV station WAPA, the strike is over a recently passed law: “el proyecto del Senado 525 que da paso a la Ley de Transformación Administrativa de la Comisión de Servicio Público,” also called “el Proyecto del Senado 525.”

The interview shown here directly contradicts this claim. In fact the person interviewed explicitly states that the truckers are continuing to work: REPORTER: Nononono. It’s okay for him to pass a law but we are in a state of emergency. So are you telling me that you guys are in a fight with the governor and not going to work because of a law? RODRIGUEZ: No, we are doing what we have to do. REPORTER: You just said that it was because of a law. RODRIGUEZ: No the trucks are getting out to work, and I call on all truckers to continue working and to work with their towns. Because it’s the truckers that have made it possible for us to navigate the streets of our country.


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Valle said the problem is “only 20 percent of the truck drivers show up to work.”

This quote takes a sentence from the interview out of context to mislead readers. In fact, the very next thing Colonel Valle said was: "There should be zero blame on the drivers. They can’t get to work, the infrastructure is destroyed, they can’t get fuel themselves, and they can’t call us for help because there’s no communication." This is from the very same Huffington Post article cited as a source here.