LSSA Resolution in Support of Puerto Rico

October 6, 2017

The Delegates Assembly of the Legal Services Staff Association has issued the following resolution in support of Puerto Rico: 

Whereas Puerto Rico has suffered from catastrophic Hurricane Maria leaving residents without food, water, and electricity, and which has destroyed or heavily damaged homes, roads, and much of the island’s infrastructure; and

Whereas prior to Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s economy was already devastated by a public debt crisis caused by Wall Street greed and vulture hedge funds which have resulted in huge cuts to public services, unemployment, and a poverty rate which approaches almost 50% of the population; and

Whereas Congress passed the PROMESA law last year which gives power to a 7-member financial oversight board appointed by the U.S. President, which has control over Puerto Rico’s budget and which removed decisions on Puerto Rico’s budget from Puerto Ricans;

Whereas the Merchant Marine Act otherwise known as the “Jones Act” requires that all goods shipped between U.S. ports be shipped on US ships; and

Whereas the Jones Act has caused great hardship to Puerto Rico, increasing prices for goods in Puerto Rico by 10-20%; and

Whereas Puerto Rico’s health care system is in need of increased Medicaid funding; and

Whereas the UAW has approximately 10,000 members in Puerto Rico and thousands more with family in Puerto Rico;

Therefore, we, the Legal Services Staff Association, a unit of the National Organization of Legal Service Workers, UAW Local 2320, which represents the attorneys, paralegals, secretaries, process servers, maintenance workers, and other staff at the largest legal services provider for low-income people in the United States, call on our leadership in Local 2320, Region 9A, and the International UAW to work with other unions to lobby Congress and the President to do the following:

  • Provide FEMA assistance with no strings attached;
  • Repeal the Jones Act permanently or have it waived for a minimum of one (1) year;
  • Provide real debt relief for Puerto Rico by putting a moratorium on debt service and reducing if not eliminating Puerto Rico’s debt;
  • Release Medicaid funds already allocated and increase the amount of Medicaid funds to Puerto Rico; and
  • Repeal PROMESA so that budget decisions can be made by Puerto Ricans or demand that PROMESA prioritize re-construction and recovery over debt payments.


Date: October 4, 2017