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Jun 22, 2007

Wage hike = Worker exploitation program

if you think the 50-cent wage increase by July 25 is helping, think again.

a worker currently earning $3.05 an hour (no matter how long he has stayed on Saipan and there are many of them), and who receives free lodging and transportation may be better off than a worker who:

* will be paid $3.55 an hour starting on July 25 but

* will have to start paying up to $100 a month for employer-provided housing because that`s what both CNMI and US Labor allow

* a $100 salary deduction for housing may not be reasonable for many because of the state of the housing they`re in. does Labor have the resources to check all the employer-provided barracks to see if deducting $100 per month is fair, or humane?

* some employers have started or will eventually implement a workhour deduction, citing financial hardships. Labor allows up to a 32-hour workweek from 40. so even if you raise the salary from $3.05 to $3.55 starting on July 25, and yet you allow the employer to reduce work hours by up to 8 per week...you`re just actually exploiting both the system and the worker

* employers who have been used to paying their workers $3.05 an hour (just because they can) keep telling the workers that it`s better to reduce workhours and reduce their paychecks (regardless of the federal minimum wage hike) than terminating workers. while this is a valid argument, the employer should also think that if he can do away with non-essential employees to provide a fair merit and pay system, the better.

* consider this -- a worker who has worked for an employer for 5 years and still gets paid $3.05 an hour versus a worker who has just been hired for $3.05 an hour. Come July 25, both workers need to be paid at least $3.55 an hour to comply with the federal wage law. again, the employer is not obligated to raise the salary of the longer-staying worker. after all, the employer would say, he`s not going to violate any local or federal law. (what ever happened to employee morale?)

* who in the local and federal government cares?

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