When you get stuck along Beach Road, better take the Middle Road. This is a website for those who choose to tread Saipan's off the beaten path. * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * +

May 19, 2009

When the Beatles Sings Help....

When the Beatles sings Help, the group is in harmonious unison.

When the foreign workers on Saipan cry for help, they're also in unison. Harmonious? I don't know. Now the group turns to the Philippine president, what good would that do to them?

Recently the Philippine Government has been fraught with international or foreign crises when at least two of its contract workers faced death sentences from the host countries where they worked. One was given a life sentence instead. The other was not that lucky.

Now, the Filipino workers turn to the Philippine president...

If it didn't work, who's next?

More in the news....

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just can't figure out what these people want? They came here to find employment, made babies like it is going out of style, put their babies through medicaid, food stamp and public school. All at our expenses. Now they want to dictate what happens to our small island?

Immigration has a uniform rules and regs. Stop dreaming that the US Immigration will grant you guys special previledges just because you have been here for years and have made many babies!

You wanted Federalization so here it is. Now what else can we do for you?

And please stop listening to Ron Hodges, Doromal and the Protbt guy because these people are just leading you to nowhere! It is time for you to go back home and smell the diesel from your polluted country. Leave us along!

Anonymous said...

Asking the Philippine President to help is not a good move. It's as bad an idea as the local influential people and the CNMI governor asking for a lighter sentence in the Lt. Gov. Tim Villagomez case. All you do is piss people off involved and delegated in the legal process. The US Homeland Security has a mind set after 911 and they will not change. Think of all the people illegally and legally in the CNMI having their identity properly checked and then fingerprinted? Who can possibly pay for this on the current minmum wage?
It's difficult. When the contract workers were first invited here background checks were minimal if even done at all. Many slid through the system set up by the CNMI Immigration liked it here and wanted to stay. Some do not have the income to support themselves and relatives. This would never have happened under the US Fed Immigration laws. The biggest fear goverments have in many countries is that many will not be able to suport themselves and will then draw on the social assistance programs available and paid for by taxpaying citizens. Try entering New Zealand or Australia with no high level of education and means of financial support. As a matter of fact.. try overstaying in Thailand, The P.I or Cambodia. They will nail you and let you know what will happen to you if you violate their immigration laws... Oh, they do take Visa and MasterCard and they WILL have you draw it out and pay the fines or you sit in jail until your Consulate bails you out and repatriates you home where you WILL pay them back!
It baffles me why people want to stay in a place where they are not wanted. I'm leaving this island as I dislike what's going on and as the economy declines even more it will only get worse. Sorry guys but that's just the reality of what is happening here.

Dreams and Schemes said...

It's a bit humorous asking the President of your country to help you abandon your country's citizenship in favor of another.

Yet this attempt shows how unrealistic are the schemes being peddled by Hodges, Doromal, and Propst.

The CNMI economic decline accelerated by federalization of minimum wages and immigration clearly has at least five more years to go.

The smart contract workers are taking their savings and returning home, before they spend their last dime in the CNMI and end up trapped here, in much worse circumstances than if they had gone home while they easily could.

Anonymous said...

The guest workers want green cards and access to a better life. The PI even has an interesting TV show on how to become a US citizen.

Anonymous said...

The P.I could be a tropical paradise. Why not return home and make it so? Why the hell would I want to freeze my ass off in Canada, the US, or swelter in the dry dusty desert in Saudia Arabia?

Interior Hearing Testimony said...

Recently, the Secretary of DHS utilized legislative authority to delay the transition period effective date by 180 days to November 28, 2009. There is, however, no equivalent statutory authority to delay Interior’s report on long-term foreign workers. If there is only five months of administration before the report is due, as the current timeframe would require, insufficient data and other factors may make the completion of a meaningful report difficult. In addition, we are anticipating that status adjustments of some foreign workers will need to be made, potentially increasing the time it will take to complete the report beyond the one year originally allowed for in Public Law 110-229. These factors may make it difficult for Interior and its partners to parse desirable immigration policy and long-term foreign worker issues in an abbreviated timeframe.

The Department of the Interior, therefore, requests that the Congress extend the statutory date for the report on long-term foreign workers by one year to May 8, 2011.

A tip of the HAT? said...

The “Unity March” of December 7, 2007 and the 3-day sit-in at Tan Siu Lin Plaza of May 18-20, 2009 sure did a lot of good, didn’t they?!

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

Someone is using you. Juan-Galvin? Heinz-Arnold-Tina? A tip of the HAT? Ha!

Words of Wisdom said...

“Let it BE.”

Ben-Eloy 2009.

a wise soul said...

"Federalization: We demanded it; we got it".

Stalled or not, sooner or later, it's out with the old and in with the new.

SAIPAN & MARIANAS WIN WITH FEDS

bigsoxfan said...

Take a look at what is offered for what will be long term jobs in Guam, assuming long term residents of Saipan can travel there, workers might find a clue. No future in Saipan, but I'll be there isn't much in traveling to Guam, other than an OFW contract. Still it will pay money over a number of years and I think that is as well as any long term "guest worker" on Saipan could expect. Ie. work, but no long term immigration status. just my reading of the job/immigration market. "If you wnat them bad enough, twist the rules to allow them to arrive, work 'em, and then send them home.
Tough luck, but what a voting bloc all the overseas workers could establish, if they put the money home to a central bloc.

bradinthesand said...

status will not come unless the united states is willing to open the flood gates for millions of illegal mexican immigrants.

i think that the cnmi is an afterthought to the stateside decision makers when it comes to granting a "special status" to longtime foreign workers.

the easy solution, which the united states will likely take, is to say "wait in line like everyone else."

i doubt that the folks in washington are willing to make a decision for a few thousand people in the marianas that will likely affect millions more on the mainland.

Anonymous said...

Time to change the slogan:

BETTER LIES!!

Trash Ben & Eloy Nov. 2009 Yes baby.

Anonymous said...

ILLEGAL Alien in the U.S.

LEGAL alien in the CNMI that paid local taxes.

Can't you see the difference?? IDIOT!!

bradinthesand said...

before you jump to conclusions, my anonymous name calling friend, the mexicans pay local taxes in the form of sales tax all of the time.

the issue in the eyes of the mainland lawmakers is that the future of the foreign workforce of the cnmi and illegal workforce in the united states are linked.

both are searching for an exception to the rule. i just don't think that the mainlanders care enough about the future of the long-time guest workforce in the marianas to open the door for millions of illegals in the continental united states.

you're absolutely correct about the legal versus illegal status of the cnmi's workforce and that of the migrant laborers in the u.s.

the long-time guest workers of the cnmi entered the cnmi legally and contributed to the local community for the better part of the commonwealth's relatively brief existence.

they're the backbone of the local economy, and everyone knows it. even the governor knows full well the importance of third country nationals to the cnmi.

why else would the man who called them illegals be fighting to keep them in the cnmi?

the anarchist said...

If federalization is stalled to 2010 or 2011, the Saipan will look like a ghost town.

If such a plan becomes reality, then workers that are not extremely secure in their job should pack.

Fitial wants control instead of prosperity for the people. If he took the unlimited cap for H workers, Saipan would start to rock.

SMR said...

first and foremost anonymous commenter this is the second time you have attacked someone with your comments on personal level and we don't tolerate that. put your homophobe comments somewhere else.

the teacher said...

1st noni - You can't figure out what these people want? Those people was the term Robert E. Lee used to refer to abolitionists, but Rev. King answered your question 46 years ago when he said...

"There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?"

" ...We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

In addition, the statements at the hearing that asked to extend the "status quo" here...are unimaginable requests to someone that lives here. Mr. Pula's suggestions sounded like it was written by someone living on the moon. If we stall this another year, or two, this island will wither and collapse economically.

Our Congress here has again, stood silent, and let others who do not live here speak for them.

bradinthesand said...

wait, i'm confused. when the impending takeover of our labor and immigration takes place, won't that start the final countdown for our guest worker population?

it seems to me that our economy stands to wither once the takeover begins, not before it.

the six-month stay prolonged the cnmi's ability to keep its foreign workforce (and unique cultural diversity) by an additional 180 days.

how will the federal takeover of labor and immigration help our economy?

or to be more fair to your statement, how would the onset of "federalization" prevent our economy from withering away further?

in the short-term, won't the cost for labor increase when local employers have to compete for all-local labor in a limited labor pool?

after that, won't there likely be a flood of cheap labor from the f.a.s. to even things out?

it seems to me that the only thing federalization will do is trade out the filipinos, bangladeshis, nepalese and chinese for micronesians.

is that better? worse? the same?

the teacher said...

Brad - You said "it seems to me that our economy stands to wither once the takeover begins, not before it."

Federalization hasn't started and this economy can't blame this meltdown on the fed govt yet. Uncertainty is our most immediate concern here. We should end the uncertainty and begin as prescribed to start a rebuilding and continious improvement process. If children can't afford drinking water after federalization and have no potable water at home, we will then know who to blame and who to take our concerns to.

Under bleak CNMI leadership, filing a complaint would be a waste of time, as our long lost Congress is today, likely bickering over what to serve at the next free luncheon.

Pula wants to wait and decide the fate of CGW's until fall of 2011. The guv wants to delay by a year, which will garauntee misery here for at least 18 months.

Anonymous said...

The decline in our economy is directly attributable to the federalization of minumum wages and the specter of immigration federalization in all its bureaucratic miasma.

The reports of all three or four economists to consider the issue are unanimous.

We should be extremely grateful that our Governor is fighting so determinedly for the people of the CNMI and for local control of our economy.

"Let it BE."

bradinthesand said...

"Federalization hasn't started and this economy can't blame this meltdown on the fed govt yet."

true, i totally agree. but how would federalization would actually help the economy?

i think it will be worse immediately because we won't have control over our borders.

guam screwed us over on that one by trying to hone in on our chinese and russian markets.

sorry madeline bordallo, but guam's greed was thinly veiled by its faux concern for the cnmi.

that's the truth and she knows it.

that move is going to take away half of our tourist base and the fastest growing segment of our travelers.

oh, and because of that we're also going to lose the majority of our foreign workforce.

Just off the top of my head said...

Brad:

Federalization will help the economy in the following ways:

1. It will restore some private section jobs to local workers, instead of farming them out to foreigners;
2. It will raise wages, which will encourage even more local workers to enter the job market;
3. The more local workers in the job market, the more the dollars they earn will circulate in the economy, as they buy houses and cars and clothes and other items;
4. The more cars and houses and clothes they buy, the more local businesses will thrive, which grows the economy even more;
5. The federal government will bring another 100 or so federal workers here, all of whom will need houses and cars and clothes, and their dollars will circulate and multiply, growing businesses and creating more jobs for local workers;
6. The businesses here will finally have some predictability, which is critical to any long term business plan. The rules about who can come, and who can work, and how much they have to be paid, will all be fairly consistent, instead of depending on who is related to lawmakers, who gives money to the governor, or who pays someone at Labor to process work permits in the middle of the night;
7. Increased stable investments and a consistent tourist base (i.e., those who qualify for visa waiver, instead of those whose tour companies or casino money laundering operations pay off government officials) will allow us to focus on our core markets (i.e., Japanese and Koreans), and make improvements to the tourist infrastructure that will make them want to come back for repeat visits;
8. Fixing up the tourist areas will result in more family based tourism, instead of seedy buy-me-drink-me bars, massage parlors, and resort brothels like the Fiesta;
9. Consistent enforcement of the immigration laws will mean that honest businesses will not have to compete with cheats who cut corners by not paying wages or taxes, or who bring even more workers from overseas;
10. As the number of local workers in the job market increases, they will raise the standard of living for everyone, and will soon demand better governance than what has been inflicted upon them so far.

All this will not happen overnight, but give it 5-10 years, and the CNMI and its people will be thriving.

You are right about Bordallo screwing us, but losing the Chinese market may be a blessing in disguise.

Anonymous said...

Just off the top of my head:

SPOT ON!

I think more towards the 5 year rather than the 10.

About time this crap starts coming to an end.

So glad I am not the only one that sees through all this BS doom gloom crap!

bradinthesand said...

just a few things:

"1. It will restore some private section jobs to local workers, instead of farming them out to foreigners."

like housekeeping or accounting? the problem is that there aren't tons of jobless local accountants out there looking for work.

not enough employers are going to be able to fill the positions that fall just shy of the "highly qualified" visa requirements.

then what?

nmc should have shown the vision to install a hospitality degree program to help local folks obtain the skills needed to fill the void created when the foreign workforce leaves the hotel industry scrambling.

it would be profitable and hanmi would've supported it 100%

"2. It will raise wages, which will encourage even more local workers to enter the job market;"

true, but it will only encourage local laborers to consider the private market instead of showing the dependency on the public market.

"3. The more local workers in the job market, the more the dollars they earn will circulate in the economy, as they buy houses and cars and clothes and other items;"

that makes sense, but you're suggesting that there will be more people working in the cnmi who are from the cnmi.

i really don't see that happening because those who want to work are working...maybe not exactly where they want to work, but that's life in the real world.

when the foreign workforce departs the cnmi, the job market will certainly be wide open for local labor.

employers will be forced to raise wages ahead of the staggered minimum wage levels in order to compete for our limited labor pool.

that will only be temporary as a flood of citizens of the f.a.s. will turn us into a smaller version of guam.

the smart hotels should already farm the f.a.s. ahead of time so they won't have to scramble later.

"4. The more cars and houses and clothes they buy, the more local businesses will thrive, which grows the economy even more;"

i agree with that formula but people here won't be able to buy houses because the impending loss of article xii will price all but a choice few locals forever out of the housing market.

bradinthesand said...

(continued)

"5. The federal government will bring another 100 or so federal workers here, all of whom will need houses and cars and clothes, and their dollars will circulate and multiply, growing businesses and creating more jobs for local workers;"

...which will unseat the 100 local employees who held previous positions with the cnmi government.

while many new jobs will be created, many more locals will be told they're not qualified in much the same way they're being told in the immigration department now.

don't believe me? just ask the guys who have been working in our immigration department for years what they're hearing from the feds.

"6. The businesses here will finally have some predictability, which is critical to any long term business plan. The rules about who can come, and who can work, and how much they have to be paid, will all be fairly consistent, instead of depending on who is related to lawmakers, who gives money to the governor, or who pays someone at Labor to process work permits in the middle of the night;"

don't people still complain about this kind of corruption in guam?

seriously, "who can come, and who can work, and how much they have to be paid," isn't really all that difficult right now.

what's happening is that the feds are telling us who can no longer come to the cnmi.

"7. Increased stable investments and a consistent tourist base (i.e., those who qualify for visa waiver, instead of those whose tour companies or casino money laundering operations pay off government officials) will allow us to focus on our core markets (i.e., Japanese and Koreans), and make improvements to the tourist infrastructure that will make them want to come back for repeat visits;"

our core markets aren't enough to keep us afloat now and the additional growth from the russians and chinese can only help the cnmi.

"8. Fixing up the tourist areas will result in more family based tourism, instead of seedy buy-me-drink-me bars, massage parlors, and resort brothels like the Fiesta;"

what does that have to do with federalization? can't that be done now, locally?

"9. Consistent enforcement of the immigration laws will mean that honest businesses will not have to compete with cheats who cut corners by not paying wages or taxes, or who bring even more workers from overseas;"

that's a labor concern, not immigration. labor deals with who can legally work in the cnmi while immigration deals with can legally come to the cnmi.

while the two work in conjunction, a federalized labor department would work just fine with a locally-run immigration department.

"10. As the number of local workers in the job market increases, they will raise the standard of living for everyone, and will soon demand better governance than what has been inflicted upon them so far."

how many local people aren't working that legitimately want to work?

seriously.

what's going to happen is that the people living in the tin shanties will continue to do so and the people with ambition will continue to live well.

the only new factor to the equations is that laborers from the f.a.s. will replace the current foreign workforce, live in crummy conditions and work the minimum wage jobs while those who feel entitled to the better jobs will either land decent paying jobs or complain about not being granted access to them.

g00$e said...

None of the above matters. The locals' economic standing will work itself out to whatever it works itself out to. If it turns out to be a mess so be it- it will be their mess, just like everybody else's.

But they can't even begin to address their economic or social issues while under foreign occupation.

the teacher said...

Brad, I would agree that Guam burned us by horning in on our niche and Madaline drove the hearing questions with one purpose...help GUM by adding visa waivers for Chinese and Ruskies.

The entire tone had little focus on the plight of contract guest workers or any of our other concerns. I would also agree that we will have immediate hardships(after federalization), but we should weigh that with the costs and misery of uncertainty, which is killing our economy like the plague.

bradinthesand said...

g00$e:

"foreign occupation"

huh?

the teacher:

i'm sure that uncertainty is a killer for us because it bars anyone from china and russia from making a sane investment in the commonwealth.

the japanese and korean investors shouldn't make much of a difference because their market will remain intact.

the only thing that really is changing is the minimum wage, and that's all scheduled.

there will be plenty of unskilled labor here to handle the void left by the cnmi's foreign workforce once the f.a.s. sends its "tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to be free..."

the teacher said...

The sign says "breath free" not "be free".

At least that was the US immigration policy at the turn of the last century because factories wanted a flood of unskilled labor to drive the costs and value of wages down...kinda like the garment driven influx here.

The new immigration policy doesn't mesh with "give us your tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to breath free" though, because if the sign matched the policy, it would read "Give us your brillant or those with a miilion bucks for a US investor visa"...

well, thats what the sign says.

bradinthesand said...

yeah, i think that emma lazarus would be more than a little disappointed with that.

thanks, teach. for anyone interested in the entire poem, enjoy:

not like the brazen giant of greek fame,

with conquering limbs astride from land to land;

here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

mother of exiles. from her beacon-hand

glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

with silent lips. "give me your tired, your poor,

your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

i lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

*you can find this at the statue of liberty in new york, but i think it's also written in japanese at the base of the sugar king statue.

okay, not really.

mehearemsay said...

Think I'm gonna puke!

Pray hold the pudding, as the man said said...

Brad:

Your responses to the ways in which federalization will help the economy are not well thought out, and more than bit glib. You are opposed to federalization, and you are entitled to your opinion. Why not leave it at that?

The Actor said...

Brad,

The “foreign occupation” to which g00$e refers is the limitless supply of low wage labor (artificially skewing a free-market economy) in the trades and many professions. Federalization is supposed to help local workers and potential workers by sharply reducing that influx. (This is why I still maintain guest workers were “used” by federalization advocates.).

Teacher,

This hearing was always intended to focus on the Visa Waiver Program in which DHS would deny us PRC & Russian tourists. It was only the activists and David B. Cohen who took advantage of the hearing to raise the issue of status.

That was never the intent of the hearing; DHS hasn't even released its proposed Transition Program regs yet. Those issues will come later. No foul play by Madeleine.

Methinks thou dost protest too much said...

"It was only the activists and David B. Cohen who took advantage of the hearing to raise the issue of status."

Actor:

Sorry, but that's BS. Fitial asked for a delay, and I take it you would not brand him as an "activist" who "took advantage" of anything. Nik PUla, whose testimony was largely supportive of Fitial's position, asked for a delay in reporting on guest workers, and I take it you would not call him an "activist"
either. Why then is David Cohen an "activist" for discussing that which Fitial and Pula wanted delayed? Like the rest of the Fitial Good Ol' Boys, you can't seem to stand anyone having an opposing view.

Anonymous said...

Fitial's proposed delay was for the sake of giving DHS the ability to develop adequate security measures to allow our vitally important PRC and Russian tourists to continue to visit under the Visa Waiver Program.

NMI watcher said...

Many Marines are leaving Japan but the are not going to Guam and the CNMI is not capable of feeding itself, much less entertaining the thought of housing a military move here.

The Army and part of the Marine armored division and fixed wing will now be heading to HAWAII.

Anonymous said...

TO: Greg Baka aka. The Actor,

You are incredibly ignorant or just plain devious and malicious. I'll cut you a break and suppose the latter.

Read what you wrote. Who the hell is USING the guest workers and the system that allows what you clearly point out as being a FLAWED SYSTEM? That would be your boss and your king and your idol FITIAL and you and the rest of his cronies.

You and your governor want the system in place to continue. People that hoped and prayed for federal takeover of immigration and finally are going to get it are the ones that wanted that system to end and the years of "using" foreign workers to come to an end. They also would have loved to keep the grandfathering provision and once the federal government comes in they will, as they have been doing, continue to ask the powers that can grant it (THE US GOVERNMENT) for improved status for the thousands of workers that were USED by you, Greg, and the rest of your crony Fitial lovers.

The current system as you pointed out is FLAWED. As you further pointed out , it set in place a two tiered system that stifles a free market economy. It also allowed for the abuse of guest workers and the ability for the employers to treat the guest workers as indentured servants. The guest workers have been disenfranchised.

It is time for this to end and the end is near. You and Fitial need to step off your BS spin and doom gloom crap spewing and move on.

And you need to rewatch the hearing. Your buddy and pal Fitial brought up the Worker program and the future status, so did Kilili, Jim A's speech referenced it as well so did everyone else. You attempt to spin things but everyone can clearly see it is just you and Fitial spinning yourselves into a pit of BS.

David was a shining light in that hearing. You need to review his testimony and his responses and learn yourself a few things.

Until then spin on.

Anonymous said...

Query: Do you think the use of personal attacks makes it more or less likely that posters will use identifiable user names? Civility improves the quality of public discourse.

The stated purpose of Pub. L. 110-229 is to eliminate the guest worker program in the long run.

But for at least the next 5-15 years or more, everyone acknowledges they will still be needed. How many, for how long, and in what occupations?

We don't know because of the dearth of U.S. Census Bureau data and delayed DHS decisional process, the very first of which is how or when can we have our PRC and Russian tourists.

All the Governor is saying is, “First things first,” which is something we should all agree with.

One thing is clear -- with no viable economy, there will indeed be no need for guest workers.

[That is the answer to the Jane Mack argument about why census data are needed more to implement a program than to predict problems in its absence.]

Anonymous said...

Brad needs to sell phones and stop talking like he has a brians.

His cute face make ups for his snall brains

Anonymous said...

Anon:

You guys and your spin! What employer on the mainland or anywhere else tries to figure out how many workers he needs by consulting the census data? It's a red herring. It's a way of arguing for preservation of the status quo, which was unacceptable 10 years ago.

Businesses know how many workers they need, and we can get a good idea how many foreign workers are needed by the number of 706 K permit renewals there are each year. Consult the Labor Department, and they can tell you how many locals are registered for whatever job category. Who needs census data?

Anonymous said...

Anon:

You guys and your spin! What employer on the mainland or anywhere else tries to figure out how many workers he needs by consulting the census data? It's a red herring. It's a way of arguing for preservation of the status quo, which was unacceptable 10 years ago.

Businesses know how many workers they need, and we can get a good idea how many foreign workers are needed by the number of 706 K permit renewals there are each year. Consult the Labor Department, and they can tell you how many locals are registered for whatever job category. Who needs census data?

Anonymous said...

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), which is an arm of Congress, and every economist consulted have all said they need more data.

They are far more trustworthy than some tendentious, result-oriented, single-issue advocate who, in classic psychological “projection,” accuses everyone else of “spin,” regardless of their fact-based analysis.

On the number of workers needed, you are ignoring the major difference between the CNMI system (a flexible design mostly controlled by employer demand) and the goal of the federal system -- to wean employers from using foreign labor. The federal system will perforce need more demanding performance metrics.

As for “using” guest workers, the federalizers have been utterly shameless in trading on their hopes and dreams to cruelly pass a law that will hurt them.

The self-government advocates have simply supported the bargain that each worker made when arriving here. No more and no less. It is a despicable shame that for two decades the feds utterly failed to allocate sufficient resources to address the wholesale violations of federal law that were occurring. They still aren't. Instead, they take the easy way out, at the expense of responsive local control. Too bad for the contract workers, but maybe good for any local workers still around in a decade when the economy recovers.

Congress should have had the U.S. Census collect the data before passing the law. This grievous failure is reflected in the CNMI economy collapsing around you.

Local Worker said...

I don't care if the CNMI economy collapses around me. As long as I get my minimum wage increase from $4.05 to $4.55 an hour, I'm happy. And $5.05 next year.

Biba feds!

Biba Juan & Galvin!

If it looks like spin & smells like spin said...

Anon above

The economy collapsing around us has been doing so for the past four years, and is mostly attributable to the inaction and poor judgment of the local government, not due to the feds' failure to collect census data.

The economic collapse is due to Article 12, SARS, the legislature changing the rules every 20 minutes, PL 15-38, the pullout of JAL, undrinkable tap water, 3000 hours of blackouts per calendar year, too many red flag beach closures, ripping off tourists, poor enforcement of all local laws, and a governor being advised by loony-tune haole lawyers to drive the economy into the ground so they can blame it on the feds.

Blaming any of this on the feds not collecting census data is so absurd a proposition, it almost could have come from some government "volunteer".

Words of Wisdom said...

Ben & Eloy have, more than any other administration in CNMI history, reduced spending and cut the number of government employees.

They have solved problems at CUC decades in the making. B & E are proven leaders and managers who are highly skilled at making the best of a bad situation. They are willing to stand up to a retirement fund that wastefully spends retiree money on junkets, bad investment advice, and lawyers.

They are unafraid to challenge the federal government in court to live up to its promises in the Covenant, using funds prior administrations spent ineffectively on lobbyists.

During times of trouble we need an experienced hand on the tiller.

Biba Ben & Eloy!

Let it BE.

Rick Jones said...

From dictionary.com:
indentured servant
Function: noun
Date: 1723
: a person who signs and is bound by indentures to work for another for a specified time especially in return for payment of travel expenses and maintenance

I see people on the blogs referring to guest workers as "indentured servants", but I don't see how that fits the definition. They are free to leave when they feel like it, they get paid a wage (whether a "fair" one or not is up for debate), and have some protections under law.

I get the feeling that many are still referring to the abuses that were documented in regards to the garment workers, but they are gone and never coming back.

Does anyone really believe that the guest workers still here are treated like indentured servants?

Anonymous said...

?

Rick,

Your own Chamber leader stated, "If we give them green cards, they will ALL leave."

He said he experienced this himself.

The government says, "We need guest workers." but in unison say "we don't want to give them improved status."

We all know that they have less rights than any US worker in the CNMI.

So you give me the name for someone that is forced to continue working for an employer with no rights that is truly disenfranchised in the CNMI. Do remember some of these workers have been out here for over 18 years.

And there are many other meanings. Language like our culture evolves:

indentured servant an individual voluntarily or involuntarily contracted to working for another for a fixed number of years (often four to seven) in exchange for specific considerations (such as passage to the Colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries), usually including freeman status. See also apprentice and Freedom of the City (London).Sounds spot on to me!

Rick Jones said...

Anon,

Who is forcing anyone to work? Guest workers came here in the full knowledge of the contract they were signing, and that there would not be any immigration status given to them. Has there been any deception here?

I'm all for giving them the right to live and work here by the way, I just don't see how this indentured servitude thing got started for a bunch of people who came here voluntarily.

By the way, I am not a Chamber member, but anyone who doesn't think there will be a mass exodus if all of the guest workers are given green cards is fooling themselves. I don't believe they will ALL leave, but enough will that businesses will still be short of employees. If there are any businesses left, that is.

Anonymous said...

Rick:

indentured servant an individual voluntarily or involuntarily contracted to working for another for a fixed number of years You questioned the use of the term and used a definition that you picked out. There are numerous definitions. I think the definition I picked out suits the situation pretty well.

Mass exodus? If they are not "forced" to be here and they are here voluntarily then why a mass exodus? Have all US citizens left the CNMI? I know we have had quite a few but to say MASS EXODUS is continuing the DOOM GLOOM spiel. There is no factual evidence that they will all up and leave. Leaving and relocating may be a long term plan that a few may put into place but an overnight exodus of mass proportions is ridiculous.

Also, lets use your logic and the chamber's logic: Businesses here can not survive without a foreign guest worker program. That is what the main argument is. Who would you say is the largest employer in the CNMI. You may say Tan Holdings. It is argued that they need guest workers. That there is just not enough labor out here. That US citizens in CNMI just don't have the needed skill sets.

Hmmm....

Has anyone questioned whether this is true or just a bunch of hogwash?

I say hogwash!

How can I say that?

Let's revisit the initial question. Who is the largest employer in the CNMI?

THE DAMN GOVERNMENT (4000+)

That being said they can not hire guest workers and haven't been able to for many years.

So how is it possible for them to fill 4000+ jobs with solely a US citizen labor pool to draw from? Look at the myriad of potions - accountants, janitors, engineers, project managers, maintenance, construction, etc. The list goes on and on. All filled with US citizens.

Why? How is this so? What allows the Government the ability to find labor and adequately staff for all of the jobs in all of the agencies on all of the islands?

Doom Gloom my foot. There is no basis for such BS arguments.No basis other than fabricating lies to continue the current guest worker program. A program that allows for indentured servitude on US soil.

Rick Jones said...

By the way, the government hires scads of contract workers, but they do it through placement agencies, just check the hospital and CUC.

Talk about fabrications, take a look at your assertion that there are plenty of people here to fill all the jobs available. Do the numbers, by all reliable reports there are somewhere around 20,000 locals on Island. Let's say half are work eligible, the others being either retired, children, or otherwise unable to work.

That leaves 10,000 of which 4,000 work for the government. Estimate another 3-4,000 work for the large employers, i.e. Tan Holdings, Triple J., non-Tan hotels, non-government airport, Joeten Companies, etc. That leaves around 2,000 locals to fill positions being held by approximately 14,000 contract workers.

Now tell me how this is fabricating lies to continue an indentured servant system, which you are still wrong about, by the way. Whatever definition you use, these people are not indentured servants, whether you think they have been treated fairly or not.

Like I said, I'm all for giving them some sort of status, even though I believe most would eventually leave for greener pastures, which would do nothing but hurt the CNMI.

the teacher said...

An indentured servant is a modern term for a slave. Restricting a worker’s rights, financially handcuffing an impoverished worker to a job, or making contracts with third world laborers that intend to circumvent US labor laws, is, in my opinion, a modern day form of slavery or servitude. The worker may even owe his employer airfare, making him financially unable to return to the country of origin, and that is against the human rights and values of my nation. We should stop these practices in our community post haste.

As to the blog discussion above, "will the guest worker leave the NMI if status is improved", the answer is yes and no. Many unemployed or underemployed workers or those without deep roots here will seek work abroad, relieving the glut of unskilled labor here created by the textile industries strategy of hiring too many workers to drive the cost of, and value of a worker down. Those married to citizens or with higher ranking employment may stay in the CNMI.

Either way, supply and demand prevails and the intent of this federalization law- reducing the dependence on foreign labor and forcing business to hire locals here- in achieved. In addition, the human rights issues are addresses and restitution is paid to the worker in the form of improved status, thereby greatly improving our stained record and history of labor abuses and violations.

Anonymous said...

In case no one has noticed, we have already had and are having a mass exodus.

With every increase in the minimum wage that mass exodus will increase, as our economy continues to plunge for the next five years.

Anonymous said...

If an employer can't stay in business without cheating his workers, we don't need him or his business in the CNMI. Likewise, a business that can't pay minimum wage is not making it, and good riddance. Why do our leaders bend over for foreign investors who don't want to hire locals, only foreiners?

Anonymous said...

I agree! Pay your damn workers right!

Minimum wage is a base or floor that an employer can not go below. Here in the CNMI it is the starting wage for every worker in every area in the private sector and is never raised even after 10 years of service.

Anonymous said...

"The more local workers in the job market"

The funniest i've seen. Hello!! where are the locals you're talking about the last time I checked everyone is in the mainland or guam.

Anonymous said...

Really? In the mainland or Guam?

That is so strange. Makes no sense logically at all if you are a believer of Jim A, Greg B, Brad R, Juan Pan, Fitial and all the other doom gloom anti-federal takeover people and anti minimum wage people.

So ALL of the locals that had been on Saipan are now in Guam or the mainland. So they left these islands over the past years? These islands where we are/we in control of our own immigration and where we have not altered the minimum wage in over 10 years?

So strange I thought the argument was that Federalization was going to cause that to happen. "all the businesses will shut down", "all the us citizens will leave"

You are now stating that this has been occurring over the past years? WOW that is amazing.

And to top it off you are saying that they have left to go live in Guam and the mainland? Places that have had and still have the federal government controlling immigration and had federal minimum wage?

Holy Mackerel... That is so interesting.

Come on people use logic. It is our own failures while we had control over immigration that have caused the situation we are in today.

We need to stop the reliance on low cost guest labor, we need to end that system all together and we need to move forward.

Basta said...

If all the locals have moved away, it's because they can't get jobs here that pay. If you go to Oregon or California, carpenters and mechanics make good money. Here, the locals in control of immigration and labor gave all the private sector jobs to Filipinos and Chinese.

Anonymous said...

Boycott Jim Arenoskis gas stations and his Delta Management Company which sells PTI or ITE long distance cards and text phone cards.

This clown testified for Ben-Tan and is against improving status and is for the status quo here.

Any CGW that supports his stations or his phone cards is STUPID.

Anonymous said...

There IS a silent mass exodus of locals and the haoles leaving Saipan. I checked into the SIS (Saipan International School)yearly garage and wow in past years it used to be a good place to buy quality household items. Usually many new haoles had moved on island getting set up. Only saw 4 haoles the whole 6 hours. A few locals where there and heaps of Filipinos. A sign of the times?

Anonymous said...

Noni above 3rd from the last:

Are you new in Saipan or you just wakeup from a long comma sleep? Locals are leaving since 2 yrs. ago, did not you hear the Families that left Rota just forgot the numbers. Last week I was in Guam eating at Shirley's Tamuning to my surprise most of the customers are from Saipan and they recognize me too. They asked: YOU MOVED HERE ALSO?

Anonymous said...

I said this before and will repeat it again. It seems that it is not going through their tiny brains (Greg TTT & Ben d Guvnah) the improved status is not only for Guest workers but very important also for some locals indigenous like Greg & the Guvnah. A lot of female guest workers here legitimately married to locals with indigenous kids, these locals are no way can petitions their spouses because it’s either they are un-employed or could not meet USCIS income requirements. Now Arrogant GREG & GUVNAH these so called indigenous kids are so worried comes November 28 their mother will be sent HOME even the kids are currently employed there is no way that they can petition their Moms due to the Minimum wage in the CNMI. I encouraged these people to go out stop hiding in the dark and join the Guest workers and ask their Government to support the improved status you people will make a big difference coz you are Voters.

Armchair Lawyer said...

Pass all the minimum wage laws you want, you cannot repeal basic economics and the laws of supply and demand.

The CNMI does not have the natural and capital resources resources nor the economies of scale that the mainland does. Nor does it have the billions of military dollars propping up the Guam economy.

Of course the “natural” minimum wage in the CNMI will be much lower than Guam and the mainland, just as ours is higher than the rest of Micronesia (outside Guam) because of increased tourism and a more developed economy.

It is so unfortunate that many of our people, including some posters above, do not understand this basic economic fact of life. They blame “greedy” employers, they blame government officials, they blame contract workers, they blame “lazy” or unskilled locals.

These are all wrong. The inherent natural minimum wage in the CNMI is lower, and federal laws enacted without any sort of valid data from the U.S. Census Bureau are at the heart of this collosal error in the federalization of the minumum wage.

The logical response is to upgrade one's skills to the level that the minimum wage matters less to one's own personal income -- though it will continue to be affected by the devastation of the entire economy -- or to move to Guam or the mainland for a decade or so until the grievous harm inflicted by the feds without our representation in Congress has run its course.

Nevertheless, some will choose to remain and fight. We are fortunate that Fitial is trying to halt further minimum wage increases to save our economy. We need a strong Delegate to Congress who will do the same.

Anonymous said...

"We are fortunate that Fitial is trying to halt further minimum wage increases to save our economy"
WRONG!!!! He's doing everything to protect his big boss businesses.

Anonymous said...

Armchair Lawyer,

These are all wrong. The inherent natural minimum wage in the CNMI is lower, and federal laws enacted without any sort of valid data from the U.S. Census Bureau are at the heart of this collosal error in the federalization of the minumum wage


Are you nuts? Inherent natural minimum wage in the CNMI? Nothing to do with census data or any other concern you threw out. There is NO INHERENT MINIMUM WAGE in the CNMI other than the SET BY LAW MINIMUM WAGE which is also the prevailing private sector wage regardless of occupation or tenure.

WHY? You may ask. Because of our ability to secure and unlimited supply of low cost laborers for all occupations at the lowest wage allowed by law. This is due to our own oversight of immigration and our own local laws. It has always been the case. You can twist it anyway you want that is the damn truth.

The only reason why some business pay more for labor is for other reason that don't follow what simple business practice would tell you do. Pay the least for the most - sell the highest for the least.

At the moment and in the past if you have a business in the CNMI you can staff it fully (80% but never really checked in the past) with low cost ($3.05/hr over the past 10+ years) labor for EVERY position.

That means your company could have every individual working at minimum wage and producing what any similar business could produce while paying a higher wage to workers. Why would any business do the later.

The FREE MARKET does not exist in the CNMI in regards to workers. That is the truth. You kid yourself and you try to justify the status quo but you can not.

The only way to put things right is to stop the influx of low cost labor. Allow the free market to prevail and we wouldn't give a rat's ass about the legally set minimum wage because it would just be that a base or a floor not the prevailing wage as it is TODAY.

Will the prevailing wage fall shy of Guam or the mainland? Perhaps. We will know once we take out the x-factor of free flow of minimum wage contracted guest workers.

Armchair Lawyer said...

I agree that an oversupply of labor will drive down the natural minumum wage even lower than it would otherwise be. [Such an oversupply would be exacerbated by granting guest workers Lawful Permanent Resident status.]

But that does not change one iota the fact that the minimum wage increases mandated by Congress without an elected CNMI Delegate participating were and are economically unsustainable.

Armchair Lawyer said...

Every guest worker, organizer, and advocate involved in the various sit-ins, peaceful assemblies, marches, and other sundry protests needs to read and give thoughtful consideration to the insightful column written by Zaldy Dandan last Friday, 22 May 2009.

http://www.mvarietynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17158:variations-keepin-it-real&catid=5:letters-to-the-editor&Itemid=3

Nevertheless, for our hard-working guest workers, there do remain glimmers of hope on the horizon in Congress.

http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/immigration-reform-could-emerge-again-in-the-fall-2009-05-25.html

Anonymous said...

Why take to heart what Zaldy said? It has no factual basis and is all based on his own jaded past, having lived here for so long and endured second class treatment.

"[Such an oversupply would be exacerbated by granting guest workers Lawful Permanent Resident status.] "

How so?

- End guest worker program
- Grant pathway to citizenship for long term guest workers that have a vested interest in the CNMI (5+ years) (this is what would be available to any legal immigrant that had stayed in any other area in the US for more than 5 years)
- Those that wish to leave can just as any citizen has been able to. Those that stay will continue to work.
- If more labor is needed businesses will recruit (hopefully from government)
- employers will learn to adapt and the free market will set in.

"But that does not change one iota the fact that the minimum wage increases mandated by Congress without an elected CNMI Delegate participating were and are economically unsustainable."

And of all the current federal laws we abide by? All passed prior to us having a delegate in office. And of the Covenant? Also agreed to prior to a delegate?

OSHA --- Should we disregard?
EPA --- Let it slide?

Give me a break. What is even more interesting is that the bill included giving us a delegate.

We are part of the US.

Guam and Hawaii and all the other states all make due with federal immigration laws and minimum wage... we will too.

Anonymous said...

I will bet anyone here that if the feds give green card to the guest workers you'll see Zaldy Dandan first in the line?

Anonymous said...

And who the hell is he to tell the guest workers show are expressing their freedom of speech and appealing to the Feds for a pathway to citizenship that they are being insensitive to the "locals" and not being "nice"?

Are you f*cking sh*tting me?

Not being nice to the locals?

Who the f*ck is he to decide who the locals are and who they aren't? A person that has lived in the CNMI for more than 5 years is a damn local.

And what of himself? Talk about pot calling the kettle.

Where are his "niceties" when he wrote his column over the years bashing the politicos (people he deems local)?

Zaldy has a screw loose.

He may not feel local. That is his own choice.

I have lived here for over 20 years... I AM A LOCAL and I am a US CITIZEN and I applaud the workers and everyone else that is petitioning the US for a pathway to citizenship.

Anonymous said...

I, too have lived in the Mariana Islands for more than two decades.

Yet following the example of Christ, who "did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at," I feel no compulsion to demand respect or recognition that I am the "equal" to those who have lived here 3,500 years or 200 years.

Nowhere in the U.S. does living somewhere five years make ANYONE a local.

It would appear you are a U.S. citizen who has lived nowhere else in our country.

Anonymous said...

If he thinks that the locals are the NMDs then he and others like him should read the letter of the law.

Tomorrow a plane from the mainland can land here with 4,000 US citizens of varied ethnic backgrounds. They can stay here for 90 days and they can register to vote. A handful of them can run for office in November. They can put all 4,000 votes plus whatever else they garner here towards their overwhelming victory.

Greg, Zaldy, Fitial and everyone else who looks on the Covenant as a document that guaranteed anything other than limited land ownership to the NMDs are plainly insane.

If that were ever the case and if ethnicity played any role in the drafting of the Covenant in regards to NMD control of local government than other precautions or measures would have been drafted into the Covenant. They weren't. Had they been it would have been very unlikely that the Federal Government would have passed a law making the Covenant a binding document between the Northern Marianas and the US.

We are a part of the US and therefor we should grow up and act like it. We weren't invaded we OPTED to a political union with the US and were granted US citizenship under that agreement.

We are now US citizens. Let us start acting like US citizens. Or burn the Covenant and toss the US paperwork and forgo all that the United States were founded on.

Anonymous said...

I lived all across the Mainland US and in Hawaii. In all areas I could and did in many become a local.

Being local is not a term that has any set criteria other than that of the one that yields the word.

I am local.

Any US citizen that resides here for a period of more than 90 days is a resident. When they become local is solely up to them!

Anonymous said...

yields = wields

Anonymous said...

To anon three above:

Good on you! CNMI is part of the U.S. Any U.S. citizen has just as much right to be here, and to help chart a course for this place as anyone who has been here 3500 years or 200 years. If pointing that out is "not nice" or if it's insensitive, so be it.

Anonymous said...

“Good on you! The CNMI is part of the U.S.”

You are obviously not local. ;)

This debate about respect and courtesy is not about existing law, but about changing the law.

If we are going to displace the indigenous people of the CNMI, the progressive thing to do would be at least to get their “buy in.”

Anonymous said...

"If we are going to displace the indigenous people of the CNMI"

Displace them by who? Long term guest workers who will be granted a pathway to US citizenship?

Displace them how? US Citizens who are not indigenous can already vote and run for office in the US. The CNMI can not control the influx of US citizens. This is all part of the great Covenant that formed our pact with the US.

So what protections from displacement do you speak of? The only thing you are fearful of is Filipinos newly converted to US citizens but the truth is you will have no way of stopping that either for it is based primarily on a racist base and therefor is indefensible.

Anonymous said...

"If we are going to displace the indigenous people of the CNMI, the progressive thing to do would be at least to get their 'buy in.'"


The 'buy in' was the overwhelming majority who voted for the Covenant.

After that point we all became US Citizens.

Anonymous said...

At this point, it is up to the Congress to determine whether the Covenant was a genocide pact.

The decent thing to do is to at least consider the views of the impending victims.

Armchair Lawyer said...

Immigration reform may well not pass this year anyway. See Silla Brush & Jared Allen, “Choice could buy time on immigration,” The Hill, May 26, 2009 reprinted at http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/choice-could-buy-time-on-immigration-2009-05-26.html :

“President Obama’s decision to nominate federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court may help him delay a thornier challenge: what to do with millions of illegal immigrants living in the United States.

“The nomination of the first Hispanic justice drew praise Tuesday from the Latino community at a time when many are growing anxious over inaction on broad legislation that would put illegal immigrants — most from neighboring Mexico — on a path to citizenship. Hispanic lawmakers have been pressing Obama to deliver for a key demographic that helped put him in office, with immigration reform the top priority.

“The White House has yet to commit fully to taking up broad immigration policy changes this year, with Obama instead pushing forward in tough fights over healthcare, climate change and closing the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

“Former President George W. Bush twice failed to enact “comprehensive immigration reform” and Obama has kept a relatively low profile on the topic. While many advocates say the two are not directly related, some admit Obama has bought himself a little time with the nomination.

* * * *

“Senate Democrats and allied interest groups say they’re committed to legislation by the end of Obama’s first year in office. But the stark realities of the calendar, the harsh politics of the issue and unemployment figures nearing double digits are fully within view.

“Even some of the movement’s biggest advocates are lowering expectations, saying much depends on Obama’s desire to enact sweeping healthcare changes and the president’s own popularity in the months ahead.

“Obama is set to hold a high-profile meeting on immigration with key lawmakers June 8, but the congressional calendar is already bogged down with complicated legislation.

“Any effort on immigration must overcome the politics that shreds party unity on the issue and the grassroots opposition from talk radio and cable television that helped kill Bush’s attempts.

““I’m not sure I would even expect anything to pass in this Congress, much less this year,” said James Gimpel, a professor at the University of Maryland and expert on immigration politics. “I think it’s a lot to expect.””

Id. Guest workers should not put their lives on hold for their Green Card dreams, no matter how worthy the cause.

With increasing minimum wages causing fewer jobs, people need to plan for the next phase of their lives back home.

The important thing is to get a good education for your kids, so that when they turn 21 they will soon thereafter be able to earn a high enough salary on the mainland or Guam to be able to petition at least one parent.

Anonymous said...

Zaldy Dandan should say like this: If the Guvna, Greg and some Chamolinians are not GREEDY & SELFISH improved status for slave guest workers is possible.

Anonymous said...

What about the replacement guest workers hired under the Transition Program?

Will they get a pathway to citizenship, too?

No? “Greedy and selfish,” eh?

Anonymous said...

Why not coconut if their contract will be renewed every year for five years.

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