For immediate release
June 6, 2007
Rum Workers Protest for Affordable Health Plan, Owner Leads Puerto Rican Day Parade
Ponce, Puerto Rico — Friday, June 8, 2007 at 4:00 PM in front of the Serrallés Distillery in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Serrallés workers will stage a massive protest as they struggle to negotiate substantial health care coverage improvements for themselves and their families.
The rum workers at Serrallés Distillery are fighting for their right to have access to affordable, high-quality health care. The union recently provided the company with a health insurance proposal that would improve the Serrallés workers health care benefits at no cost to the employee AND reduce the company’s contributions to employee heath care by over $75,000 this year and over $300,000 throughout the life of the contract.
Most employers would be pleased at the offer; but inexplicably, Serrallés has said no. Their only justification for denying the workers improved and affordable insurance is that they do not want to join a union plan. “We do not understand why the company refuses to participate with our Union’s health care plan – a plan that will save them tens of thousands of dollars annually. Our proposal is just and reasonable for the Serrallés Distillery,” said Eliezer Rodríguez, President of UNITE HERE Local 601 – UTILP.
While Serrallés employees are hard at work this week at the distillery, the president and owner of the company Felix Serrallés, will be living the high life in New York City as the Grand Marshall and one of the Honorees of the Puerto Rican day parade festivities. As Grand Marshall, Serrallés has been invited to luxurious events such as an Annual Gala Banquet at the Marriott Marquis, a non-union hotel in Times Square. The Parade is dedicated to Ponce this year.
UNITE HERE, Local 601 UTILP members at the Serrallés Distillery in Ponce, Puerto Rico make Don Q, Palo Viejo, and Captain Morgan rum for one of Puerto Rico’s most profitable locally owned companies.