Educational Campaign?

May 27, 2010


Oscar Rasa, the former CNMI House Speaker with the criminal background and ties to Governor Fitial, claims that Saturday's political rally is intended to be a "political education program." Rasa is the president of the non-profit group, the CNMI Descent for Self-Government and Indigenous Rights. The group was said to have been formed specifically to back Governor Fitial's anti-federalization lawsuit that was filed in September 2008 as an attempt for the CNMI to maintain their broken labor and immigration system. The group backs Fitial's agenda. Other members of the group are Rose Ada-Hocog and the notorious Dolores Aldan.

In August 2009, it was announced that the CNMI Descent group would be opening an office in the same building that houses the CNMI Department of Labor in San Antonio. The Saipan Tribune reported:
The small office, sharing the same building as the Department of Labor, opened earlier this month and [Martin] Sakisat said it has sparked some concerns from the community that it will be a staging ground for political efforts. The organization has recently gotten status as a nonprofit group, however, barring it from political work, Sakisat said.

“It's not a political office,” he said. “The articles of corporation prohibit this office, by being itself chartered as a nonprofit, from endorsing any candidate or being connected with any politicians.”
Maybe they are violating the articles of corporation. Rasa claimed that the rally is a "political education program." Others have reported that the rally is being planned and orchestrated by government workers during working hours.

The Marianas Variety reported:
Rasa said they want to make the people understand the Covenant and the federalization law.

“This is important for the people to understand what the federal government does to the CNMI,” he said.

Vice Speaker Felicidad T. Ogumoro, Covenant-Saipan, said Interior failed to consult with the governor before submitting its recommendation to Congress.

Rasa said qualified guest workers can already seek improved status through the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.

“We will make the people understand these issues and we let them decide,” he added.

He said he still believes that the federalization law, or U.S. P.L. 110-229, violates the CNMI’s right to self-government under Section 103 of the Covenant.
How arrogant can people get? Why do these people think that they can explain the federal law better than the federal officials or the law's authors? Doesn't Rasa mean that the organizers will present their twist, spin, and misguided interpretation of federal law and Covenant? The result will be further confusion in the community as the Fitial Administration continues to push its agenda to maintain local control over labor and immigration.

It would make more sense if federal officials were the ones to explain the federal law. Fitial, Siemer, Willens, Kaipat and the Covenant anti-federalization followers sure have interpreted the federal law, PL 110-229 incorrectly. They have deliberately and systematically conducted a campaign to confuse and mislead the public. PL17-1 stands as evidence of their misinterpretation of the CNRA. PL 17-1 law needs to be challenged in court.

Further evidence of their misinterpretation of federal law is the fact that the CNMI Department of Labor and their "volunteer" Deanne Siemer insist that the local government still has authority over the foreign workforce.

Again, Siemer incorrectly claims that those foreigners with legal umbrella permits must report to DoL to have them renewed or they will "expire" and the permits will be "revoked."

She stated, "On the left hand corner of each umbrella permit is a box labeled “Next Filing Date to Avoid Revocation” which is referred to as the “report-back date” in the 77-page regulations for the Commonwealth Employment Act of 2007 as amended by Public Law 17-1. "

This statement is not valid because under PL 110-229, as of November 28, 2009 the local DoL no longer has authority or control over the foreign workforce.

The umbrella permits are recognized as valid by the federal government until November 2011 without any further adjustments by the local DoL. Such blatant disregard for federal law needs to cease.

The Fitial Administration even has the audacity to create new "classifications" to the permits! From the Marianas Variety:
Labor’s volunteer attorney Deanne Siemer told the Society for Human Resource Management during yesterday’s teleconference meeting that the CNMI government will allow legal guest workers to have a 32-hour a month part-time job.

She said part of this liberalized labor policy is the creation of a new classification known as service provider which is a privilege extended to documented foreign workers who have stayed for at least 10 years in the CNMI.

“A foreign national worker who is currently eligible to work in the commonwealth and who has been employed successfully in the commonwealth for 10 years or longer may become a service provider and sell his or her services, but not any kind of goods or products or the services of others, upon approval by the [Labor] secretary,” the regulations further read.

A service provider must be in good standing with respect to payment of all taxes and charges of the Commonwealth Health Center.

The CNMI government said a revoked umbrella permit is a ground for deportation but the federal government disagrees.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said that all umbrella permit holders will be allowed to stay in the CNMI until Nov. 27, 2011 even if Labor revokes the permits.

According to CNMI labor regulations, the annual registration of aliens is necessary to track down their condition so as not to unduly burden the cash-strapped government.
The U.S. Department of Justice must take action to stop the Office of the Governor and the CNMI DoL from breaking federal law. They are overstepping their authority on several counts. They are stealing money from foreign workers and their employers in their scheme to continue to fill the CNMI coffers on the backs of the disenfranchised workers.

Until the U.S. formally stops the CNMI from violating people's civil and constitutional rights and forces them to stop their attempts to exert authority where they have no legal standing to do so, confusion will reign in the CNMI. Foreign workers and their employers who have questions on the conflicting interpretations of PL 110-229 and umbrella permits are encouraged to go to the Federal Ombudsman's Office for clarification and answers. The phone number for the Ombudsman's Office is 322-8030.

23 comments:

the teacher said...

Education, more like a circus...or perhaps they should ask me to speak??????

Anonymous said...

Teacher- were you invited? We want to hear what the speeches had to say.

Anonymous said...

What do these people do? Sit around the old immigration/labor office and come up with this sh@t? If it wasn't so sad it would be funny. Guest workers should be informed that they shouldn't go to labor. All it will take to end this idiocy is one lawsuit by one arrested or detained guest worker, and their house of cards will crumble. They may even be levied a nice hefty fine.

Anonymous said...

U.S. must intervene NOW! There are so much confusions going on among leaders, employers, employees and all the CNMI citizens. WHO HAS THE LEGAL AND ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY???? Why U.S. and CNMI are doing this to all the people concerned. U.S. must release a final statement in newspaper or TV broadcast "ONCE AND FOR ALL" concerning CNMI labor matters. This will end disillusionments and confusions among CNMI people. Our staff just called up informing the management that he needs to report to CNMI Department of Labor since his umbrella permit "report" date already EXPIRED. He is currently working with Form I9 on record. HELLO? Anybody cares? Can somebody lead the path for these confused people?

Pam said...

How many times do "these confused people" need to be told that employment of aliens in the CNMI is now under Federal authority? Anyone who still insists on being confused is not going to listen to any statement from Federal officials.

Anonymous said...

The Legal Advisers of all these mess are wasting CNMI money and resources. From the CNMI Lawsuit against the Federal Government and the implementation of PL 17-1.

Captain said...

Besides the other "tripe", the "qualifications" for a part time job, the statement the worker must be paid up at THC.
The medical bills are/were the responsibility of the employer.
Is this another "trick" to try and get money from the workers to pay for the employers obligation?

Now with this 32 hour work week thing. Most people in the private sector are only working 32 hours anyway.
Many of the contracts were modified before the Fed takeover because of the economic downturn..
What happened to the complaint by DOL (and others) that "the CW workers are taking the jobs away from the locals"??
So now they (DOL) are encouraging CW to find a second job.(how much is this going to cost the worker in fees at DOL?)
Why aren't these people (DOL)looking for jobs for the unemployed "locals".
There must be some locals out there that are truly thinking about their families and will work for the minimum wage if a job was available.
One observation I have noticed over the many years is that a great number of CW do work another job besides their "legal" one instead of sitting on the beach drinking when they are off work.

What is the status of Pam Borja (Tinian) Fed. lawsuit?
This may well indeed be a factor in regards to a "test case" concerning DOL and these "umbrella permits".

Anonymous said...

Pam- The employers and workers are still scared of the DOL and their threats. Why can't the USDOJ come in kick their asses in court and put an end to the campaign of terror? We know the feds have told them don't go to DOL, but it's hard for employers to beak away from the old mindset and threats from Fitial and his gang of liars. The employers are telling their workers to go to DOL. They are afraid to be fired.

Rule of Law said...

USCIS has every right to do whatever they like with CNMI foreign national workers.

They can honor umbrella permits, ignore them, or double the validity length for those issued on Fridays. The problem is that they haven't done anything yet.

Their legal actions must be taken through validly promulgated regulations. Not statements of likely future intention issued through the Department of the Interior CNMI Labor Ombudsman.

Until some regs are issued, the USAO or anyone else would have no basis for suing CNMI Labor and winning. They know that, which is why no such lawsuit is forthcoming.

Sophisticated employers also know that, which is why so many are still complying with inane CNMI requirements, even though the writing is on the wall that soon the wicked witch will be dead.

But she hasn't melted yet!

USCIS really needs to get on the ball with these regs. The opinions of Pamela S. Brown, no matter how well-informed, accurate, and prescient they may be, do not have the force of law.

For that, we need validly promulgated regulations by USCIS.

Regulations now!

Anonymous said...

Hyperbole alert:

Clearly, doubling the validity length for umbrella permits issued on Fridays would be arbitrary and capricious.

Anonymous said...

Many employers are afraid of the CNMI DOL revoking their current employees work permits or losing their business license. Some are also afraid of losing their skilled employees if they know that their contracts do not have actual penalty clause. Most employers are in a holding pattern until the CW regs are released. If the CW visa is enacted, watch how many new semi-skilled workers are suddenly needed in the CNMI at $4.55/hr.

Anonymous said...

No employer wants to be first to "test the waters" on not complying with DOL. With lawyers involved even if you win you lose. The Feds will win for sure, but like the other writer said, "the witch has not melted yet".

TAGLISH said...

YES!!! WE NEED THE REGULATIONS NOW!!

USDOJ should step in NOW! Please, we need your help NOW.

Anonymous said...

to all employers: why not test you employees? i am sure the only punishment is deportation, and CNMI cannot do that right? or illegal hiring? LOL!

Anonymous said...

do we need to do something drastic for them to listen? 2 days of stop working? 2 days of not going to restaurants, shopping marts? 2 days of staying inside the house, no fueling, no driving, no texting, no long distance call, no remittance activities, no other activities to be done where spending money is involve.

do we need to do this to be heard? let's make a scenario pretending no aliens around. it would be so interesting to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

do we need to do something drastic for them to listen? 2 days of stop working? 2 days of not going to restaurants, shopping marts? 2 days of staying inside the house, no fueling, no driving, no texting, no long distance call, no remittance activities, no other activities to be done where spending money is involve.

do we need to do this to be heard? let's make a scenario pretending no aliens around. it would be so interesting to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

You might want to be a little careful with work stopages. Legally, it might be alright, but you might be violating provisions that all employees, contract or local, must adhere it. Unions (which I hate) can protect you from this, but this could (again maybe)give an employers the right to "cherry pick" the workers that they wanted to let go. For instance, I believe the contract workers at Saipan Stevedore are not allowed to be out in this manner or they probably would lose their jobs.
I'm not saying don't do it, but there could be unforseen consequences.

Anonymous said...

Another threat 9:23? Prohibiting workers from their constitutional rights is illegal.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you know the law better than I do, but I am not sure that a work stoppage is protected. It certainly is not specifically protected by the constitution. Don't get me wrong, it is not illegal and no one is going to jail, that is protected. It's just your job might not be. I know that several people in my company on Saipan, all locals, had a "strike" (non-union)and two people ended up terminated. The rest were retained.

the teacher said...

A company can fire strikers whether they have a union or not.

Companies usually don't fire because they don't really want to replace their whole workforce.
We don't have many union workers here and contract workers from abroad have been sheep, weaker than teachers. Unions seldom strike unless their contract is up for renewal, in fact "walking" under contract is referred to as a wildcat strike and contracts usually require wildcat strikes must show strong cause. Unresolved grievances is typically the stated reason so strikers don't have to get too specific in case their real reason for walking is not justifiable under the terms of their contract (ei – we really struck because they suspended our union steward, but we couldn’t state that in the newspapers, so instead, we submitted 75 grievances similar to the way workers here typically filed a case when they weren’t renewed under the broken CNMI system).

The first day of a wildcat closes the shop but sometime in day 1, the company gets a court ordered injunction against closing the shop which typically states where strikers can stand, how many can be at any one entrance (typically 2 persons), and notifying the union that they may not be on company property, may not block the gate to the premises, and other rules of engagement.

Some noni here suggests a walkout but that person is too scared to sign their name. If you do strike, be prepared for your boss or company to inform you that you have been terminated when you return. Unions are protected by contract and loyalty of its membership, something lacking here for a concerted action to be successful. Also be prepared for a 6, 10, or 12 week strike without pay or benefits. It is not impossible, American workers do it all the time, but strikes don’t work without 100% support, so potential movers and shakers need to ask the membership…”are you willing to go without pay for an unknown period of time, walking picket for free, and is this cause worth losing your job”. Also be prepared for the company to hire “scabs” to replace you, employ the lockout strategy, and use your strike to get rid of undesirables when some return.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

A "sick out" for a day or two, may be a better way to go. A doctors certificate is easy to get.

Anonymous said...

or just dont buy anything that day, dont fuel, no texting, no long distance call, no eating in the resto. etc.