CNMI Department of Labor Continuing to Push Unjust Policies

May 16, 2008

Yesterday the Saipan Tribune covered the news of an "overstayer" policy announced by the CNMI Department of Labor. The announcement stated that a list of "overstayers" was published Monday, May 12th in the local papers. and aggressive action will be taken to remove the identified guest workers from the commonwealth. The article states:

“Permit holders who have expired permits and who have not left the Commonwealth and who have no application, case, or appeal pending in the department will be put on the overstayer list,” she said.

Kaipat said the list will be published twice, once in each of two successive weeks, to give persons on the list an opportunity to appear at Labor and correct if any error has been made.

Kaipat said after the correction period expires, she will certify the list to the division of Immigration, and that they expect immigration to conduct vigorous enforcement efforts."

I will also publish a list - a list of employers who owe these "overstayers" and other guest workers money. For decades the CNMI Department of Labor has failed to enforce their own policies. They should have collected the judgments for the guest workers, and should have been publishing lists of employers who owe the guest workers money. The DOL should go after the violators and labor abusers with the same aggression they go after "overstayers." Instead DOL has decided that the burden of collecting judgments should fall upon the victims.

Under the DOL set of policies, labor violators are not held accountable. In fact, to help them get away with abuse, the DOL has decided that a guest worker with an EEOC, NLRB, or a case in federal or superior court can be repatriated without having their cases settled. The DOL policies do nothing to discourage employers from withholding pay or otherwise cheating or abusing workers.

I have been informed that the same hearing officer who heard a labor case has also heard the appeal. If you are a guest worker who has filed a labor case with the CNMI Department of Labor and have filed an appeal, you should not have your appeal heard by the same person who heard your case. If you are one such guest worker, I would like to hear from you. This also denies due process and justice. If you have any questions about the legality of your hearing, please contact the federal ombudsman. His contact information is in the sidebar on this site.

You also have the right to request that your case is not heard by a person who is not a true employee of the Department of Labor. A "volunteer" should not be hearing labor cases. You also have the right to request that your case is not be heard by anyone who has made racist remarks against guest workers.

Guest workers should know that if they are legally employed in the CNMI, they should not be concerned about H-visas intended for specific professionals and particular categories of workers. The H-visa is one way that foreign contract workers will be hired to work in the CNMI after the federal immigration system is applied. The federal government will also be overseeing a federal guest worker program for workers who are not covered under the H-visa categories. Again, as stated in a previous post no employer can charge you for a visa or a work permit. Please see the federal ombudsman if an employer tells you that you must bear the cost of employment related fees.


NOTICE TO GUEST WORKERS


If you have a pending EEOC case, NLRB case, US Department of Labor case, or a labor case in federal or supreme court and have been notified that you must deport the CNMI, please email me with:

Your name
Your contact information
Case number
A brief description of your case including date filed and any action

Contact: doromal@earthlink.net


NOTICE TO GUEST WORKERS


If your labor case has been dismissed by the CNMI Department of Labor because you did not receive notice of a hearing please notify me with:

Your name
Case number, employer
Your contact information
A brief description of the circumstances and date

Contact: doromal@earthlink.net

9 comments:

Chamberonomics told you so said...

The Governor of the NMI should resign in shame like Delay and Doolittle. In their defense, they at least had the class to step down and not further shame the decent people they represent.

The CNMI Dept. of Labor has the Govs niece implementing policy, which is at least the look of impropriety. She introduced the Island Slave Law before she was beaten by the voters.

In addition, the Gov has a "free" strategist/lawyer/consultant hearing cases at DOL in which she has the power to deport the parents of a US citizen child. This is also beyond the look of impropriety.

I suggested a year ago that this administration should work with the US government to the benefit of the decent citizens of the commonwealth, but shamefully, they have fought the US to the determent of our local populace.

To cling to the reigns of power at this point, seems criminal.

Ron Hodges

Anonymous said...

What's outrageous is people who think that the tiny islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota can accomodate an endless migration of Filipinos who come to work in the Marianas but refuse to go home after their visas expire. These so-called guest workers, who are no long guest workers at all, are not only a drain on the local government who are stuck with the bill of dealing with them and educating their children, etc., but they also take the few job opportunities available to the real residents of the islands. People like Mr. Hodges who side with the illegals, are less interested in justice than they are in reducing the hold that locals have on their land and government by encouraging the inundation of the Marianas with tens of thousands of non-locals and giving them citizenship who can vote out laws that protect the indigenous people. This is a fact, and pretending that these illegal workers are being mistreated is simply a tactic. If Mr. Hodges were really an ethical person who cared about his community, he would be standing up for the real victims of illegal laborers - the indigenous people who lose the jobs, lose the ability to make a living, and eventually will lose their indigenous culture to overwhelming numbers of Filipinos and other outsiders who don't care in the slightest about the local people and will only do everything they can to get their land. He would also be concerned about the flow of money out of the Marianas to the families of foreign workers. Money that can't be taxed and that is lost to the economy forever. Shame on you Mr. Hodges. Go back to the USA or move to the Filipines of you don't respect the local culture of the Marianas.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, my, my, my. You think you own these islands?

Read the paper if you want to read about abuses. No one thinks that any illegals should be here in the islands. Who invited the contract workers here? They just showed up? No, no, no. It was the indigenous people who control the system that allowed the indigenous people to become a minority in the CNMI. You like the cheap labor and then complain when the US might actually treat the contract workers like humans. Give me a break. They are wanted by the CNMI as long as they shut up and work for less than their contracts, pay their own costs of renewals and otherwise get ripped off silently. As long as the feds are pouring in US taxpayer money, these are not your islands.

If there are workers without jobs who are a drain, then what system allowed them to be here and become a drain? Oh, let me think. The DOL? The CNMI immigration? The indigenous people gave up control a long time ago by inviting the people who built the roads, the houses and buildings, and keep the economy alive.

The contract workers want your land? Get real. The contract workers can do what they want with what they earn including sending their money to their families. Do you think that everyone who is invited to the CNMI is here to only serve you and your needs and they should suffer in silence? Mr. Hodges has as much a right to stay and work here as any US citizen does.

You have a my, my, my attitude. Because people want rights they don't respect the local culture? Get real. Rights trump self-interest.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous two up.

It is not Filipines. It is Phillippines. How dare you suggest I spend my money here to be taxed to help you instead of sending it to my family back home. It's not enough to cheat us with our paychecks. Now you tell us where to spend our money.

Anonymous said...

"Shame on you Mr. Hodges. Go back to the USA or move to the Filipines of you don't respect the local culture of the Marianas."

Where in his comment does Mr. Hodges disrespect the local culture?

Chamberonomics rerun said...

“What's outrageous is people who think that the tiny islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota can accomodate an endless migration of Filipinos who come to work in the Marianas but refuse to go home after their visas expire. These so-called guest workers, who are no long guest workers at all, are not only a drain on the local government who are stuck with the bill of dealing with them”

This appears to be an original CK, and not penned by her more eloquent ghost. The NMI’s labor and immigration will not need to worry about any “endless migration” as it is a federal issue for America to deal with, as opposed to the broken plan perpetuated by textile industry greed to drive the value of labor down.


"and educating their children, etc.,"

Educating their children…hahaha…the US taxpayer should be applauded for funding the improvements to our education system demonstrated by improved test results across the board over the last generation. This we vs. them parochial mentality is racism at its finest. With over 2k former students I would have difficulty naming the ethnicity of my current students in our diverse school system. I elaborated in many earlier Chamboronomics works and I will leave you a clip from several.

Chamberonomics II

With all of our economic problems on Saipan, I believe our most disastrous long term concern here is that our finest young people are leaving the commonwealth in waves due to lack of opportunity and they are not likely to return.

The question over federalization for residents here is do we want an island comparable to a third world barracks or do we want a resort island that Bermuda and Maui will have difficulty competing with. If we bump heads with the US over the issue of decency here the federal government will likely coerce us like naughty toddlers. We should ask our government for help on their terms and seek all federal assistance and expertise available in making the commonwealth the true gateway to Asia. A concerted business effort to block federalization in the judicial system will jeopardize future military opportunities due to insecure borders.

The worst cause and effect of having leadership controlled by garment manufactures is that they have failed their own children and allowed them to flood the commonwealth with an alien workforce, which has left no options for local youth other than leaving Saipan or joining the US military. I am tired of teaching brilliant students and watching them vacate every year . Could you expect a local Chamorro or Carolinian student to attend college for six years of study in architecture or engineering to return to here and compete with our slave labor force for jobs? No community would intentionally plan such a drab picture for their children.

Did you ever wonder why the textile industry moved into a small tropical island in the first place? Was it cheap labor? Was it our wealth and easy access to raw materials and natural resources? Was it our convenient shipping location? Was it really to ship freely to the mainland US and absence of cotton importation restrictions? The garment manufactures originally located here due to their ability to control legislation on US soil for a relatively small amount of money. The garment manufactures never located in Saipan for cheap labor, cheap labor is available throughout Asia, that and the other aforementioned are just peripheral benefits from having the ability to enact legislation and control law. The question is Saipan has never been between locals and the US government, it is the struggle for local islanders to take back these islands from a handful of powerful business persons with a monopolistic stranglehold on our key infrastructure.

Chamberonomics I

Over 1,000 students at school all day without toilet paper is a fact that any MHS teacher can attest to. Our government is again funding a lobbyist to coddle the interests of our richest one percent while our deteriorating schools are under funded. No community should paint such a bleak picture for their children. Our politicians have squandered opportunity and abdicated their responsibility to our most precious resources. When you go to the polls the next time, please remember your arrogant politicians sipping bubbly in Vegas on your dime while your needy child eats U.S. federally funded cold canned green beans in a non air-conditioned, dilapidated classroom because the money for an oven was redirected to a senator's ghost employee per diem account. We want all perpetrators of the Abramoff bribery scandal that have internationally disgraced the name of the CNMI prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Chamberonomics XIII

A majority of Saipan Chamber of Commerce and HANMI members oppose federalization of the CNMI. Our Washington Representative, Pete A. Tenorio and the vast majority of our voters support federalization. Our local governments politicians accommodate big business even when it is detrimental to the best interests and needs of our local citizens.

Why would local politicians support big business interests before Chamorro and Carolinian residents living in or near poverty? It is reasonable to assume those impoverished homestead residents lack the financial resources to accommodate "legislative" needs. It is a fact that our public housing authority can not currently fund our neediest residents with basic housing allowances. Observing who resides in the finest homes in Rota, Tinian, and Saipan is but one evidential example of our politicians first priority.







“but they also take the few job opportunities available to the real residents of the islands.”

How many time must I explain this to Fitial’s Fed Fighters? If we improved status, many CGWs may move to seek opportunity that our tiny island can not provide in absence of the slave driving garment factories, and more employment opportunities here would be available for our local youth. The FFF spouts this propaganda of rhetoric for big business (chamber- HANMI) while lobbying to block a 50 cent minimum wage increase for Chamorro and Carolinian youth. That, my dear, is shame you must live with and account for. History has closed the book on your economic plan.

People like Mr. Hodges

Would that be handsome middle aged scuba divers with brown hair, or blue eyed males born before 1960 in Kentucky with Native American and Irish immigrant ancestry that now golf in the CNMI?

"who side with the illegals,"

I have little sympathy for some illegal workers and sympathy for others. It is now the concern of the US. Am I in favor of amnesty for those who angled a broken system…yes I am, but it is neither my decision to make or our corrupt DOL‘s.

"are less interested in justice than they are in reducing the hold that locals have on their land and government by encouraging the inundation of the Marianas with tens of thousands of non-locals and giving them citizenship who can vote out laws that protect the indigenous people."

This is almost too ridicules to respond to. I had nothing to do with the inundation of the Marianas with tens of thousands of workers and I don’t think CK did either. I think Uncle Bens business associates did though and that is who the FFF are protecting. They could not care less about poor kids in the homestead areas….but I do care.

“This is a fact, and pretending that these illegal workers are being mistreated is simply a tactic. If Mr. Hodges were really an ethical person who cared about his community, he would be standing up for the real victims of illegal laborers - the indigenous people who lose the jobs, lose the ability to make a living, and”

Pretend that workers were mistreated…hahaha…is that why one employer here paid over 10 million in fines and our government paid a felon millions as well? I do care about these islands lady, that is why I stood up, and you did not.


“eventually will lose their indigenous culture to overwhelming numbers of Filipinos and other outsiders who don't care in the slightest about the local people and will only do everything they can to get their land. He would also be concerned about the flow of money out of the Marianas to the families of foreign workers. Money that can't be taxed and that is lost to the economy forever.”

I will help you maintain indigenous culture if you listen and follow my directions. The primary loss of culture here is that few locals own or manage our visible businesses on Beach and Middle Road. Many are operated by alien “investors” desecrating the ambience of my beautiful island. If your corrupt associates will allow, ask US immigration to put them all out of business and enforce US investment laws in the Northern Marianas Islands. Since most of the citizens here are local, this would help make the Marianas a showcase for indigenous cultures instead of looking like a third world slum.

"Shame on you Mr. Hodges. Go back to the USA or move to the Filipines of you don't respect the local culture of the Marianas."

GO HOME…haha…I am HOME.

I AM LOCAL said...

Mr. H. - I AM LOCAL and I have enjoyed reading your thoughtful and heartfelt insight for improvments in our (meaning mine and your) islands.

Popular opinion on labor and immigration here changed last summer, when the teacher, or teachers, took this case for our local kids.

Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you are here Ron and you are not the only local fed up with l & I here.

M said...

Ron - Amen to locals being fed up with the labor and immigration. This issue has embarressed many of us. We want the US to clean this up. This blog post was passed around Labor yesterday. Several months ago one of your articles mentioned keeping locals working in labor and immigration. Would you write more and clarify your opinion on that?

It may be impossible for you to get elected Washington Rep but I would vote for you and I think many of my family and friends would to.

Thank you.

Thank you.