FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UPDATE: Legal victory for Puerto Rican teachers!
August 16, 2005
FEDERAL JUDGE JAY García Gregory of the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico
dismissed today a legal action brought by the American Federation of Teachers
(AFT) against the Federation of Teachers of Puerto Rico (FMPR) and its President,
Rafael Feliciano, on the grounds that he lacked jurisdiction to rule on the
merits of the case.
The AFT is demanding control over the assets of its former local union, the
FMPR, claiming that it has named a "receiver" to administer the latter as a
result of alleged shady dealings. The AFT first began threatening the FMPR
with receivership after the latter voted overwhelmingly, in its Delegates'
Assembly (as stipulated by its union charter) to disaffiliate completely from
its former international in September of 2004. The FMPR has repeatedly
contended that not only are all AFT accusations absolutely false, the AFT no
longer has any authority over it whatsoever, since the disaffiliation.
Judge García Gregory has agreed with this second claim by determining that,
unlike local affiliates of U.S. unions like the AFT, as a union organized under
Puerto Rican law, the FMPR is not subject to the rulings of the federal courts
system on the matter at hand.
Not fully satisfied with this legal victory, the FMPR leadership, which is
well known for promoting rank-and-file participation, is going ahead with its
plans to hold a membership-wide referendum this Thursday, August 18, to ratify
the delegates' decision to disaffiliate. According to Feliciano, "showing our
strength by ratifying our disaffiliation will be the FMPR's best defense."
Indeed, the AFT's hired goons in Puerto Rico are hard at work intimidating
teachers into voting "No" on disaffiliation. In all likelihood, its high-
priced legal team is already preparing for an appeal before the U.S. 1st
Circuit Court, in Boston.
This is why solidarity with the FMPR is crucial, now more than ever! The
Association of Latino and Latin American Students (AELLA) at the CUNY
Graduate Center calls academic communities throughout New York, particularly
members of local unions with ties to the AFT and AFL-CIO, to make your
voices heard and stop the sabotage that is being carried out in your name in
Respect Puerto Rican teachers! Defend union democracy!
Hands off the FMPR!
Contact: José A. Laguarta
 Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory since 1898, and a U.S. Commonwealth with control over local affairs but
subject to federal laws and the federal court system (much like U.S. states) since 1952. Puerto Ricans are U.S.
citizens since 1917, but don't pay federal taxes, can't vote for the U.S. President, and have no voting
representatives in the U.S. Congress.
¡Aquí sí OTRO MUNDO ES POSIBLE, si la gente va!