Luis “Tito” Morales, President of the United Steelworkers Union – Local 8249, made good on this challenge to Governor John P. deJongh and the 29th Legislature, when the main group of unions in the U.S. Virgin Islands petitioned a court to block the government’s plan to cut the pay of government workers across the board by eight percent.
The Central Labor Council argues that the cuts would not be needed if the government improved the collection of taxes. The CLC is seeking an injunction from the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands enjoining the Governor from implementing the cuts. Governor deJongh announced the cuts last week, saying the option would be to lay off over 600 workers. The new law also creates incentives for government workers to retire early.
Governor deJongh of Friday noted in a statement on Friday that the union leaders had earlier said they preferred salary cuts to layoffs.
The U.S. Virgin Islands faces a $17.4 million deficit for the 2010-2011 fiscal year and an estimated $90 million deficit in the next fiscal year which begins October 1, 2011.