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Thousands of teachers in Puerto Rico strike against pension cuts
January 15, 2014
Thousands of teachers across Puerto Rico walked off their jobs Tuesday in a noisy two-day strike over cuts to their pensions that the island’s government says are necessary to avert financial disaster but that educators say will force many of them into poverty.
The teachers gathered with tambourines, cowbells and bullhorns outside public schools across the island on the first day of classes after winter break, forcing hundreds of schools to close.
Aida Diaz, president of Puerto Rico’s Teachers’ Association, condemned the law that was approved on Christmas Eve and calls for switching from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution system, among other changes. She noted that teachers in Puerto Rico do not collect U.S. Social Security, and that many would see a decrease in their pension.
“This is the most important fight in our history,” she said. “It’s about protecting and defending the only source of income we have upon retirement.”
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