PL 17-1 Comment Period Announced

April 22, 1010

According to the Saipan Tribune, the CNMI government has published PL 17-1 in the Commonwealth Register and the public has "30 days from April 19, 2010 to comment on the law."

I urge all foreign workers to comment on this law. The article does not say where to send comments. I assume it would be to the DOL's legal counsel, attorney Eli Golob. I believe his email is: .

The latest spin on their labor laws includes a list of fees for processing paperwork for operations for which the CNMI legally no longer controls.

Fees listed in the draft of PL 17-1 posted on the DOL web site show that DOL is charging fees to foreign workers and employers of foreign workers when they lack the legal authority to oversee the foreign workforce. A list of all fees from the law:
Section 70.4 Fees. The following fees shall be collected by the Department. All fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable unless otherwise provided in these regulations.
(a) Posting a job vacancy announcement No fee
(b) Registration to transfer No fee
(c) Application for an approved contract
(initial, transfer, renewal) $300.00 unless a federal fee has been
paid, in which case no fee
(d) Application for an approved contract
non-business employer $250.00 unless a federal fee has been
paid, in which case no fee
(e) Attendance at orientation No fee
(d) Request for contract amendment or change $25.00
(e) Request for certificate of good standing $100.00
(f) Filing of workforce plan No fee
(g) Replacement or duplicate permit $50.00
(h) Penalty fee for untimely renewal
(limit 60 days) $5.00/day
(i) Processing a temporary work authorization
(6 months) $150.00
(j) Renewal of temporary work authorization
(per month) $25.00
(k) Mediation of labor disputes No fee
(l) Filing a complaint
with the Hearing Office $20.00/person
(m) Filing an appeal
to the Hearing Office $25.00/person
(n) Filing an appeal to the Secretary
(per person, except in agency cases) $40.00
(o) Transcript of labor hearing
(tape only; tape provided by requester) $75.00/tape
(p) Expedited processing
(in addition to fee) $150.00
(q) Miscellaneous certifications $25.00
(r) Request for extension of transfer $50.00
(s) Annual registration $25.00
(t) Penalty fee if check or credit card
payments do not clear $35.00
(u) Specialty data request $25.00 per record
Less than one hour required for
Individual's own records
Employer’s own records
Less than one hour required, others $95.00
More than one hour required (as available) Cost to locate, assemble, and copy
(v) Contract extensions (up to six months) $35.00/month
The CNMI Department of Labor has had no legal authority over the foreign workforce since the enactment of the CNRA November 28, 2010 so it appears that the NCMI government is using this law to once again thumb its nose at the federal government, and as a last desperate attempt to retain the broken local labor system.

The federal government, through the ombudsman and other high ranking federal officials, clearly outlined the federal stand on umbrella permits, which is that they are recognized by the federal government until November 2011. However, Cinta Kaipat, Deputy Secretary of DOL insists that the DOL can revoke them. The federal ombudsman advised foreign workers not to go to DOL and to go to her office for advice instead.

From all reports DOL is luring the foreign workers to come to the office for an umbrella permit with a photo ID, and instead of issuing the photo ID the office is revoking the umbrella permit for some.

The Ombudsman is assisting foreign worker Pamela Borja, in suing DOL for revoking her umbrella permit. The lawsuit states that the revocation "is arbitrary and capricious, and in violation of the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.” This will likely be a test case and one of many cases that the CNMI government will face in coming months.

PL 17-1 is proof that DOL is struggling to maintain local power over the foreign workforce, most likely as an attempt to continue to fill their coffers on the backs of the foreign workers.

More on this law tomorrow...


Captain said...

Unfortunately for Pam Borja, this is not the first time that such a case in regards to her wages have come up.
Her first job when Pam arrived in the CNMI, many years ago, at a restaurant and bar, that was owned by the last former Tinian Mayor (San Nicholas) ended up with problems on non pay and a judgment for her (and the other workers) along with a work transfer.

There was many more jobs along the same lines. (as it typical of many in Tinian's" tendency to abuse the workers.
I hired her also at one time as she was fighting being "deported" because she was pregnant while working for another business person, (Rose Mendiola Long, related to another former Mayor)
Pam had been working while Rose kept telling her the paperwork was being processed. Then did not pay her while turning her loose one day before she was to become an "overstayed"
There is a lot to the work history of this person and others like her in Tinian.The abuses have been shrugged off by Saipan DOL since it was DOLI and Zackery time.
Her employer who she was working for when she became pregnant also never did pay her hospital bills, nor did she and her boyfriend get paid.
At least now we shall see a "test case" on these regs. (I happen to be the godfather of her first boy)

Wendy said...

I hope she gets justice.

Islander said...

Are employers still have to submit a contract to CNMI DOL? what would happen now to those employer that sided with Pam Brown which happen that I am one on them. We did consulted Pam on this matter and she also said that DOL has lost authority over CW, howver with this new law, what will happen to my company and my hardworking CW. I am confused at this moment.

Anonymous said...

The past Tinian Mayor Mendiola was involved in "Cattle Rustling" during his term in office (along with other things)and was prosecuted after his term.