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Jun 13, 2008

Why does the Chamber oppose Tina Sablan's Resident Foreign National Act?

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce has come out against House Bill 16-86, the Resident Foreign National Act of 2008, introduced by Representatives Edward Salas, Victor Hocog, Heinz Hofschneider and Tina Sablan. Sablan described what the Act would do in Thursday's Saipan Tribune:

"If HB 16-86 is signed into law, qualified foreign nationals would be able to apply for an entry permit that would allow them the ability to be employed at will in the Commonwealth for the duration of their permits. This means that they would be responsible for negotiating the terms of their own employment contracts, including medical coverage, and for paying their own permit fees. They would also be able to operate businesses, and to accept, leave, and transfer jobs without having to obtain the approval of the Department of Labor. Foreign nationals who can show that they have maintained legal status in the Commonwealth for at least five consecutive years prior to the date of application; have a clean criminal record; have never been public charges of the Commonwealth; have sufficient potential for employment; and are not otherwise deportable, would be eligible to apply for resident foreign national entry permits."

Tina Sablan's full column in the Tribune can be found here. In her column, she effectively refutes the arguments that the Act would be moot because of federalization, that it would displace locals and other U.S. citizens, or that it would burden employers. In fact, she makes a strong case for why the bill would benefit the local economy.

Now, we can see why some people might have sensible reasons for supporting this and some would have sensible reasons for opposing it. But why would the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, which is supposed to be looking out for the interests of local businesses and the economy, oppose this bill? Don't they have an interest in stabilizing the work force by allowing a pool of qualified workers to stay here as long as possible? Could it be that Chamber leaders don't like the idea that these workers would have the right to transfer to different jobs, which would create a little more balance in the highly unequal power relationship that employers have traditionally enjoyed with their employees in the CNMI? Don't they realize that with the passage of the federalization bill, the special, artificial power advantages that CNMI employers have benefited from are on their way out anyway? Could it be that they oppose this bill because they haven't yet grasped the implications of the federalization bill? Just asking....


Ms. D. said...

House Bill 16-86 would allow foreign national workers to remain in the CNMI for up to five years even if they do not have jobs.

Given the cap on foreign national workers imposed by Public Law 110-229, the last thing the CNMI needs is more unemployed guest workers using up slots needed by employers.

House Bill 16-86 may have been a great idea before the federalization bill passed.

But now, it would kill our economy. It's as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Not so fast, Ms. Deanne. How can people who have no jobs meet the "no public charge" eligibility requirement? So it will not kill our economy, and it's not as simple as that. So the question has not been answered, and we're still left to ponder what the real reason is that the Chamber opposes this bill. Is it the political connection between the Chamber and the Governor?

Ms. D. said...

I am not Deanne Seimer. I was “christened” by Lillian F. Hammerhead when she accused me of being a racist and a dildo because I argued that there were worse things for U.S. citizen children than returning to the countries of their parents. I posted once or twice as Ms. Dildo, and then took the more polite moniker.

There are many ways for a foreign national worker to avoid being a “public charge,” which means they are receiving government assistance -- that they're not eligible for anyway. This includes relying on savings, help of friends, or even (illegal) underground employment like selling Chinese farm vegetables, or being a casual domestic worker.

That is the real reason. If they are unemployed -- which is almost guaranteed in this economy for a good number of them -- and don't have the skills needed by prospective employers, these folks will block hiring of needed people.

“It's the economy, stupid!” (Not that I, personally would use such insulting language.)

It is as simple as that.

Question answered.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

I haven't read the bill, but I heard there were fireworks at the hearing last night.

Anyone go?

Ms. D. said...

Sorry, Angelo, I didn’t attend. Maybe you could ask Ian.

It is ironic that the cap on foreign national workers, which is the genesis of the Chamber’s opposition to H.B. 16-86 and the reason that passage of H.B. 16-86 would be so extraordinarily detrimental to what is left of our economy, was imposed on the CNMI as part of Allen P. Stayman’s (and David B. Cohen’s and the Ombudsperson’s) federalization bill, Public Law 110-229.

Yes, the same bill that our guest workers endorsed so enthusiastically at their “Unity March” is the very reason our CNMI Legislature cannot possibly pass Congresswoman Tina Sablan’s bill without wreaking havoc on every business that needs to hire someone with a particular proven skill. Talk about unintended consequences.

“Federalization: You asked for it; you got it.”

Marianas Pride said...

Does anyone remember the old 80's commercial jingle "You asked for it, you got it, Toyota!" Yes, that is how old I am.

On a positive note, the power was only out for two hours today.

glend558 said...

Disband the chamber! They are only an extension of Ben Fitial and his warped views.
Murphys Law: If something can go wrong, it will...
Bens Law: Something will go wrong, it's only a matter of time.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

There is only one real reason they don't support it..

They won't be in a position to treat employees as slaves anymore. They will have to compete for employees.

This is the modus operandi of the Chamber.

Again.. if you are a member, whether you agree with this or not, you are part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Ms. D is incorrect that the "no public charge" requirement could be circumvented by illegal activity. Also, do we really think that a significant number of guest workers who have been making $3.05 for years could, on an island with the highest gas prices in the country, satisfy the "no public charge" requirement by relying on savings or on each other? But rather than engaging in a pointless back and forth, let's cut to the chase: If the bill were amended to ensure that people who are jobless and not making a meaningful contribution to the economy were ineligible, what would your excuse then be for opposing the bill? The Chamber just came out against the bill period, rather than suggesting modifications that could make it palatable in their eyes. I don't think the bill needs to be modified, but the Chamber's outright opposition with no suggested improvements betrays their true intentions. It's all about their fear of giving up a grossly advantageous bargaining position against their employees that they would not enjoy anywhere else in America.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Just to play Devil's Advocate (the name of my new Co-ed soccer team), is it possible that the Chamber is against changing the law every two years, regardless of the merits?

Lil' Hammerhead said...

History shows, the chamber would perpetuate bad practices forever.. if left alone. Using them as a "gauge" to determine the propriety of laws, is about as sensible as looking into a toiletbowl to determine tomorrow's weather.

This has nothing to do with timeframes.. and everything to do with perpetuating a system of subservient and cheap labor.

cactus said...

Why will there be this supposed pool of unemployed workers hanging around in the first place?

Won't employers basically be forced into hiring whoever is here, due to their inability to hire from off-island?

Sure, they will holler that there are no "qualified" workers available on island. That has been their excuse for years for not hiring locals. But look around you. How many people here now are seriously "qualified" for the work they are doing?

I suspect that, for most positions (admittedly not all), you could hire anyone here, put him to work, point him in the right direction, and within a short time he or she would be as "qualified" as whoever would have been hired from overseas to fill the same position.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

But there are qualified workers.. if not, we need to work as a community to get local residents trained. As long as we leave it up to "the Chamber".. this will never happen. All the majority of big business here wants is CHEAP LABOR.. to dismiss that is to be absolutely ignorant. Look at the history here.. look at the recent history of fighting minimum wage and if true.. opposing this legislation.

Please.. you can twist words all you want.. the facts are the facts.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

If I had a crystal ball I would predict that most foreign workers will be replaced by Micronesian workers.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

If that's the case.. then many businesses' argument that non-residents are hired because they need skilled workers, will hold no water. Local workers, for the most part, receive a better education and are for the most part more skilled (as we stand right now) than the average joe from Micronesia.

That just speaks to the fact that the foremost concern of most businesses here is access to "cheap labor".

There are already a great many unemployed Micronesians on-island right now.

Anonymous said...

The whole intent of the federalization bill/law was to curtail the amount of contract workers gradually and reduce the CNMI's dependency and begin using local residents.

Tina's bill would undermine the whole intent of the federalization. Quite frankly, I think none of the individuals who supported the federalization measure are sure now what to comment on.

comments such as slaves...WTF! I know many businesses who treat guest workers good. If wage is an issue then boohoo...they can always go to Saudi Arabia.

what's next not enough activities in Saudi Arabia and hey lets face it they are confined to their quarters for safety reasons.

If businesses treat their employees like slaves then I guess it's the contract workers who are real dipshits for continuing to go around the island for businesses to sponsor them.

Bottomline is that Tina screwed up and miscalculated and banked on an improved status for all guest workers and now she is trying to save face which will ultimately cost her relection bid.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

She is trying to do the right thing. To counter the very bad labor bill. To even the playing field for local workers. To improve worker conditions through a natural and appropriate process.

The only screw-ups, were those made by elected leaders in allowing businesses to build their enterprises off of the backs of cheap labor, and at the exclusion of our own local residents.

Anonymous said...

She is doing nothing of the kind. She is sucking on Heinz H's crank while acting as the front man for his more off the wall legislative ideas so he doesn't take the heat. Can we say naive?

And this piece of idiocy is as 'off the wall' as it gets.

Does it mention what we do with the 20,000 new 'eagle' babies they will spawn during their 5 year free ride tenures?

Anonymous said...

Lil, you made numerous references to the labor regulations being a bad bill. FYI, the new labor law provides for transfers upon completion of any contract "provided" that they register and have a hearing.

At the hearing they would have to present proof or certification from a registered company on labor's employment list that a job exist from the company manager. What this does is protect the worker and the CNMI from these illegal sponsorship.

Is the law strict...yes but many of you are commenting without knowing first hand. Many transfers are granted to contract workers as opposed to what you are saying.

I think that it's important to distinguish between good hard working contract workers and those who are just hanging around drinking beer and unemployed waiting for an improved immigration status.

Anonymous said...

Worse than just hanging around drinking beer, many operate illegal, non contributing, under the table businesses and get their customers by stealing them from legitimate employers. The new labor laws are finding those as well and throwing them off island. The laws and those enforcing them should be applauded.

Lil and her band of illegals of course think it is terrible for these people to have to abide by their contracts. I wonder just how many she is sponsoring? Maybe it is time for Labor and Immigration to take a look.

chamberonomics xxxxxx said...

Lil answered the blog question with the first post listed below.

"They will have to compete for employees.

This is the modus operandi of the Chamber.

Again.. if you are a member, whether you agree with this or not, you are part of the problem."

Anonymous said...

Anon...I wholeheartedly agree. It's easy to just comment on something without knowing the facts. The new labor law benefits all parties and that's the bottom line.

chambered said...

ps Angelo - I attended the first half and it was orderly. The comments were split but a majority favored Tina's bill. The commenter’s were a majority for the bill but US citizens were split. Mr. Cruz, Mr. Rasa, and Alex Sablan were against. Mr. Pelligrino, Mr. Woodruff, myself, and many CWs were in favor. The department of commerce commented that they favored the bill but had questions regarding complications of our investor visa program and allowing CGWs to own/operate businesses. Tina asked if that was there only objections which were confirmed.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

That "eagle" babies comment is not cool. Those kids are American citizens.

Ms. D. said...

cactus said...

Why will there be this supposed pool of unemployed workers hanging around in the first place?

Because they are hoping there will be a green card in their future, perhaps due to a general amnesty as part of the 12 million person amnesty in the next administration. (!) Or by the two-year status review under Pub. L. 110-229.

Whether such dreams were promoted by David B. Cohen, the Ombudsperson, Dekada Shyster, or the overheated imaginations of our hard-working foreign national workers doesn't matter.

It's a widespread motivation for folks to go "TNT".

And it is blocking new hires, under the federal cap.

Anonymous said...

That is why labor needs to start cutting down and not renewing before these guys go TNT.

Anonymous said...

According to ms. d's "logic", foreign workers already have a strong motiviation to go TNT because their hopes have supposedly been raised by people she doesn't like. Before, she said that the new status would allow people to stick around without jobs, and it would kill the economy. But people who are TNT would not qualify for status under the new bill, so why would it affect how many slots are being used up? People are just looking for excuses to oppose this bill, and throwing out b.s. to hide their real reasons.

Smells like BS said...

The Chamber used the lack of workers as its main argument against passage of PL 110-229: "We need 19,000 workers. Where will we get them? This bill won't work for us." Now, the House proposes a way they could have access to probably around 5,000 of those workers, for five years, and relieves them of the burden of filing annual applications at Labor at $275 a pop, and they say they are opposed, because it would "kill our economy"????

You can't have it both ways; people who have taken both of these positions within months of each other are hypocrites, liars, or idiots.

Island Girl said...

Tell us what you really think....

Anonymous said...

Fuss, fuss, fuss. Very Healthy!All Federal and Immigration laws will supersede the CNMI's. Whether your pro or con it kinda makes all points moot.

Anonymous said...

Heres some fuss about the 20,000 new "eagle" babies that might be born if Tina's bill goes. Who is going to foot the hospital bills if they are unemployed? Do we have a special pool? As an employer I was happy to pay the bills for our law abiding employees and welcome our newest Americans to our family. By law abiding I mean legally married. I found out that adultery is illegal in the CNMI, and unless the Almighty has gone on an immaculate conception spree there is a whole lot of law breaking gong on! Why should an employer struggling to stay alive have to pay for an employees child birth out of wedlock. I hate to do this math but do two births out of wedlock = deportable OCW ? How do we recover the cost associated with the hiring ? Do we file small claims? How do employers who did not know this information recover their expenses ?

Anonymous said...

Twenty years ago the CNMI had local carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other skilled tradesmen. Now there are none. Now most local kids grow up and move away because there are no jobs. How did that happen? Well we all know don't we!

Finally, we have some decent labor law in place that protects the people who really live in the CNMI and Tina comes along, trying to build a political constituency out of Filipinos who really need to go home now, and tries to make it easy for foreign workers to basically stay as long as they like.

Well I for one am tied of this kind of crap. The only way for the CNMI to have decent jobs, is to send the truely non-essential foreign workers home. They are not only a drain on the taxpayer, but they send their earnings back home where it benefits that economy and not ours. If the CNMI is ever going to prosper we need to take back our jobs.

It is a case of "if you let them build it they will come". Why not "if you don't let them build it we can build it ourselves and have jobs and money back in our economy." Get rid of as many foreign workers as possible. They are poison.

Tina, shape up. Stop giving away our jobs!

Ms. D. said...

Anonymous said...

Before, she said that the new status would allow people to stick around without jobs, and it would kill the economy. But people who are TNT would not qualify for status under the new bill, so why would it affect how many slots are being used up?

Unemployed aliens, both legal (under H.B. 16-86) and illegal (“TNT”) all count against the federal cap imposed by Pub. L. 110-229.

“Federalization: You asked for it; you got it.”

Anonymous said...

By law abiding I mean legally married. I found out that adultery is illegal in the CNMI,

Sorry, there is no such law in the Commonwealth Code.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

1. Again, those "eagle" babies are American citizens. They have all the rights of you and I.

2. Tina's bill could become the model for "federalization." Yes, Federal law will supercede, but there is still an opportunity to write the regulations.

dekada lawyer said...

Wow! There is a lot of nonsense here, beginning with the remarks of Ms. D. I haven't had time to fully read everything yet, so I will limit myself to answering the question posed by Saipan blogger in the third comment.

I was there. I testified in support. I saw nothing that could really be characterized as "fireworks." Overall, it was a pretty good hearing, with the overall trend of the testimony positive (i.e. neutral to supportive).

Granted, I was a bit late, so there could have been some explosions earlier, but there was nothing in the atmosphere at the time I arrived that would suggest anything like that had occurred. And nobody said anything to me about any tension.

When I arrived, Oscar Rasa was testifying, passionately (as he is wont) against. There were some moments when Taotao Tano's Greg Cruz and his friends behaved in a somewhat disrespectful manner during and following testimony of worker leaders. I quietly and politely called him on it, and he later apologized. Afterwards, he and some of his group sat down with some of the Unity Movement core group at Coffee Care.

dekada lawyer said...

According to Deanne Siemer, the Chamber of Commerce leadership was impressed with the efforts and approach of the LTR status working group. That group, including Deanne Siemer, Maya Kara, myself, and most of the Unity Movement core group, you will recall, has been working on substantively the same thing as Tina's bill.

Chamber leaders, according to Deanne, even went up to the legislature and talked with at least one senator (I'm not sure how many legislators were approached) supporting substantively the same thing they are now opposing.

I'm not sure what is going on. Are they just opposed to this bill because it is introduced by people who are not on the Governor's approved list?

Are they pandering to select politicians?

Are they looking for something drafted by Deanne or some other anointed scrivener and unwilling to accept anything else?

One thing is absolutely certain, there is nothing in this bill that is bad for the economy. This bill can only have positive economic effects.

Of course, if you are a capitalist with a fat purse, economic revival is the last thing you want when you are scouring the field for things to buy cheap.

Anonymous said...

"Unemployed aliens, both legal (under H.B. 16-86) and illegal (“TNT”) all count against the federal cap imposed by Pub. L. 110-229."

OK, Ms. D, but then how, under your logic, would Tina's bill increase the usage of the slots? The people who are TNT don't qualify for status and are using up slots anyway. If people who are not TNT move from one status to another, and the people who are TNT remain TNT, then how will Tina's bill kill the economy? It will in fact help the economy to provide more flexibility to utilize the multi-talented group of people who are here. As Cactus noted, most of the labor needs for the economy are not highly specialized and this has been demonstrated over time.

Anonymous said...

Also, Ms. D, it's an open question as to whether the TNT count against the federal cap. The federalization law just says that the CNMI can't increase the number of "alien workers". People who are TNT arguably don't count as "workers" (certainly they're not authorized to be workers), and that's certainly a point of view that the Feds can consider in drafting its regs. In fact, the much better view is to not count people who are TNT against the cap. So the entire basis of your "kill the economy" argument is based upon something that is dubious to bogus at best.

By the way, how is going TNT even possible under Mel Grey's perfect immigration system?

Tina for Gov said...

I would like to see this bill become a model for the US.

I would further like to see the NMI wipe the stench of a generation of exploitation by adopting it, and then offering it to Senators Obama or McCain.

Then would could all say in harmony, "we asked for it and we got it"!

BenTans ongoing folly said...

Or...we could legalize TNT status since there is no way home from the NMI unless we are going by shipping container.

dekada lawyer said...

Ms. D's comment above has to be the stupidest anti-RFN status argument I have ever read!

It would appear she really is on an anti-federalization payroll, as those clowns continue to grasp at straws and the most strained arguments.

Essentially, Ms. D is arguing we cannot give improved status to long-term alien residents because we need to ship people out to create "slots" under the federal cap so that businesses in the current downwardly spiraling economy (thanks to the mismanagement of the Fitial administration) can bring in new workers with the specific skills which they absolutely will not be able to get otherwise.

Based on this, she contends the Chamber's opposition is rational. What an absurdity!

All the premises and all the reasoning are wrong.

The purpose of the cap is to prevent CNMI officials and their business cohorts from flooding the islands with new workers in the interim between enactment and implementation, which you pretty much can bet would have happened absent the cap.

The only sanction for exceeding the cap is any worker brought in in violation of the cap will become removable on the transition program effective date. Removal of such a worker would require proof that his or her entry was in violation of the cap. In short, as a practical matter, there really is no cap.

The other side of that coin, however, is that every alien whose first entry to the CNMI is after the date of enactment of Pub. L. 110-229 will be subject to scrutiny as possibly removable on the basis of violation of the cap. That will be true no matter how many aliens the Fitial administration characterizes as "illegals" and attempts to ship out.

So any businesses or government officials who are thinking about bringing in anybody at all between now and assumption of federal control better issue them a cautionary warning that they will likely be subject to examination for possible removal within a year or two after their arrival. Of course, if bringing the new worker in is simply for purposes of exploitation in the short-run, they won't care, will they?

It is extremely unlikely that during the next year to 18 months there will be inadequate slots for businesses to bring in workers "with a particular proven skill" that cannot be found in the existing labor pool on island today. And if they can't, then in this short interim period, perhaps they should do what Lynn Knight and the Saipan Tribune did: hire from the mainland USA.

dekada lawyer said...

Marianas Pride, you're are so right -- more than you know.

Ms. D is trying to claim a copyright in her jingoistic little tag line (yes, that's a term used by advertising professionals) when she's actually guilty of trademark infringement!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say but Tina's bill will never pass. Where's Heinz? Exactly!

perplexed said...

What do you mean, anon? Heinz is a co-sponsor of the bill.

He wasn't at the hearing, but maybe he is not a member of the committee.

Rep. Stanley Torres and the Speaker were there, but sitting in the chamber, not up at the dais with the committee members.

It says something that Stanley and the Speaker thought it important enough to be present and give it serious consideration.

Anonymous said...

The only thing killing the economy is Governor Fitial and his minions ....

Ms. D. said...


Anonymous said...

[T]he much better view is to not count people who are TNT against the cap. So the entire basis of your "kill the economy" argument is based upon something that is dubious to bogus at best.

By the way, how is going TNT even possible under Mel Grey's perfect immigration system?

There is nothing “dubious to bogus” about the fact that H.B. 16-86 would legalize new unemployed foreign national workers, causing a severe limitation on the number of available slots, slowing down or blocking tourism expansion projects.

The last perfect man died almost 2000 years ago, and Director Grey certainly doesn't fall into that category. But gratuitous cynical comment aside, if people on the “overstayer” list are not apprehended and deported, they are TNT.

That will be one of the few salutary effects of federalization, an increase in law enforcement resources to do things like deportations.

dekada lawyer said...

Essentially, Ms. D is arguing we cannot give improved status to long-term alien residents because we need to ship people out to create "slots" under the federal cap so that businesses . . . can bring in new workers with the specific skills which they absolutely will not be able to get otherwise.

Based on this, she contends the Chamber's opposition is rational.

Exactly. Now you get it, Dekada Shyster!

Some people say we should use the foreign national workers who are already here. Human beings are not fungible! Each of us has our own unique skills, talents, and abilities. You, and apparently Cactus as well, seem to argue that any of the people here could be trained to do anything.

There is no other community of 60,000 people anywhere in the United States, or in the world for that matter, with a modern economy where all the people who happen to live somewhere do everything in that economy without anyone else from outside.

It doesn't happen. The whole point of an economy based on productivity of labor and capital is that it becomes efficient based on each person doing what they have a “comparative advantage” to do. Remember basic Economics 101, Steve?

Despite your denigrating rhetoric, Dekada Shyster, there are companies that want to invest, and are starting to build. Most garment factory seamsresses will not become heavy equipment operators no matter how long a permit you issue them.

Instead of solving the CNMI's labor problems with a new model, not based on cheap unskilled labor, but on the federal system of only bringing in people with specific, targetted skills -- that does not include karaoke hostesses, D.Sh. -- H.R. 16-86 would perpetuate the oversupply of unskilled labor we have.

Keeping all the five-year seamstresses, farmers, karaoke hostesses, scammers, or whomever, would be bad for the U.S. citizens who want available jobs, and also for the labor supply and low wage situation.

One can't expect someone whose clients are exactly those same unskilled foreign national workers to admit the truth.

So you refer to me and my arguments as “stupid.” Fortunately the truth does not depend on the number of epithets strewn about.

And our legislators are too smart to shut down our economy now. The Covenenant recognized the CNMI's need for foreign workers with specific skills. So did the U.S. Congress in Pub. L. 110-229.

It is unfortunate that the framers of H.R. 16-86 apparently do not recognize this need.

But in their defense, the bill was written before federalization became law, before the CNMI became bound by the cap of Section 702(i)(1). H.R. 16-86 is now gravely obsolete.

Let the Feds sort em out said...

Hey Dekada Shyster just how much money did you make off of these poor
CW's ? with the promise of a Green Card?

Anonymous said...

Anon...Heinz may be a co-sponsor and not in the committee but don't forget that the duo were together promoting this at the Sabalu Market.

It was a public hearing right? Stanley and Arnold couldn't care less about this bill and said they would just go with the formality but the saying goes...this bill is dead on arrival.

Jeff said...

There's this new invention in capitalism called paying a rate that attracts workers. That kind of thing only seems to matter if you are a corporate CEO who can't live without a $30 million compensation package regardless of how well or not the company is doing. Of course all the rank and file workers are supposed to live on table scraps because "that's business." No it's not, it's cronyism and a fraud on the shareholder and the worker. The system works pretty much the same all over. The U.S. just has a bigger buffet spread and more scraps to throw around.

In order to pay the wanker ceo and his boys millions, you have to cut costs somewhere, and that's usually the maid, and the front office worker, and the garment worker and so on, and really that's the essence of the outrage over federalization and minimum wage. It makes it harder to do that end run to the third world and exploit and bully those low wage workers. It takes more of the pie from the top and redistributes it to the bottom. It's amazing some of the people who I believe to be good people to sit here and and try to justify something that vile with sophistry, diversions and name calling.

Kababayan said...

It's not sophistry when people lose jobs, my friend.

To earn good wages, there have to be actual jobs available, and our work must earn more than that for our employers.

Oh. And the workers need to have the specialized training and experience to do the jobs, which is seldom available here in the CNMI.

Why do we have to hire teachers from off-island rather than just using unemployed former garment workers?

Jeff said...

You're making my point. I'm not from Saipan and I was drawn here. A large number of people in the hospital and the AG's office and as you say PSS were lured here by what they thought were fair wages and the chance to live on a tropical island. You can draw Micronesians and U.S. citizens here to do just about anything the contract workers do, but not at $4.05.

Kababayan said...

And where is the money going to come from?

If your answer is, "the employers," then that is exactly the problem.

If, because of the cost of logistics out here, including fuel, the employers don't earn enough, that will be demonstrated soon enough in declining businesses and employees not being hired. Needless to say, anyone with eyes to see can tell you that is already happening.

Jeff said...

If people's livelihood came from the tourism industry, making handicrafts, putting together island tours, rather than make work government jobs, they'd make this place more tourist friendly, stop robbing them, stop littering, support eco-tourism instead of fighting it, more tourists would come and that would lift this place up, draw in more tourists and more money. It's also not written in stone that the boss has to make 100 times more than the waiter.

cactus said...

Saipan Blogger said:
"Again, those 'eagle' babies are American citizens. They have all the rights of you and I."

Blogger, be careful you don’t fall into the “eagle” mentality yourself – i.e., the glorification of US citizenship as conferring a stratus somehow superior to the rest of mankind.

Concern for the rights of the kids born on Saipan is admirable, but is better grounded in our common humanity than in the fluke of having the same color passport.

cactus said...

Ms. D said:
"Most garment factory seamsresses will not become heavy equipment operators no matter how long a permit you issue them."

I think you will be surprised at how flexible people can be. At one time, China abounded in seamstresses turned heavy equipment operators.

More generally, I believe that the conversion of the existing population into a stable and permanent workforce, rather than infinite reliance on a temporary labor from aborad, is not only possible, but constitutes a long-term social benefit to the island that outweighs the inconvenience to employers it will undoubtedly entail, especially in the beginning.

All that is required is a change in the governing mentality from what is most convenient for employers to what is in the best interest of the island – or perhaps I should say a recognition that those two things are not necessarily the same.

Anonymous said...

The whole idea of eco-tourism, tour packages and etc. will not work today. the cnmi has to compete with other pacific and asia markets and if we add the cost analysis of each destination the cnmi cannot survive on this market alone.

The cnmi has to compete with hawaii and guam and believe me we need to infuse more money before we can begin to get into high gear.

The bottomline is that tourist themselves are beginning to be more price oriented and are smarter when it comes down to destination packages. Being that Saipan is of no interest to the airline industries then what do we do?

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