CNMI Huh? News

July 15, 2010

Revelation for Hotel Industry

The Marianas Variety reported that Nick Nishikawa the president of the Hotel Association of Northern Mariana Islands (HANMI) told senators that "they need 3,000 guest workers to remain in the CNMI."

This is classic:
Senate President Paul A. Manglona, Ind.-Rota, wanted to know how many guest workers are in the CNMI and how many of them are needed by businesses.

Officials from the Departments of Labor and Commerce who attended the meeting could not provide the figures. 
For his part, Nishikawa, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Saipan, said HANMI needs 3,000 guest workers to keep the local tourism industry in good shape.

Senate Vice President Jude U. Hofschneider, R-Tinian, in an interview said he called for the meeting because lawmakers wanted to know the number of foreigners who are legitimately employed in the CNMI.

“We want the ‘hard’ number of actual guest workers and their job categories in industries that are in jeopardy due to the federalization law,” Hofschneider said.
Huh? What bad memories these lawmakers have. For years the CNMI DOL has claimed that it maintains a superior system to the federal one to record foreign workers, but the department refuses to share the information most likely because it is flawed or nonexistent.

If the leaders, business owners, and others understand that they need and want the foreign workers to stay in the CNMI after 2014, then they should support status and green cards for them. Or they could continue to stubbornly hang on to a local system that is nonexistent, and kiss the tourist industry goodbye.

Labor Claims to Seek Better Understanding

Reports from the CNMI indicate that the wicked witch has released her flying monkeys to initiate a campaign to determine the number of U.S. residents and FAS citizens are employed by businesses, and whether the foreign workers in each business have reportedly paid from between $200 -$500 to get a CNMI-issued Foreign National Identification Card.

The Marianas Variety story quotes DOL Alfred A. Pangelinan who has the title of "Citizen Job Availability section director, "(Is that his real title?) claiming that "the intention of their visits is to better understand the employer’s needs and expectations.”

From the Variety:
He said his office is also tasked to forecast employers’ needs for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled jobs occupied by foreign workers.

“These are jobs that employers need to achieve their business purposes,” he said.

According to Pangelinan, they have already visited four establishments on Saipan.

“The employers are very supportive of the program,” he said.

During their visit, Pangelinan said they ask the employer for a workforce plan which lists jobs that can and may be occupied by U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
The workforce plan is Section 60.2-200 of PL 17-1:
Section 60.2-200 Workforce plan. A work force plan has as its objective an increase in the  percentage of citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and CNMI permanent residents and the immediate relatives of citizens, U.S. permanent residents and CNMI permanent residents in the workforce of the employer. 
§ 60.2-205 The workforce plan. A workforce plan shall identify specific positions currently occupied by nonimmigrant aliens. The plan shall include a timetable for accomplishing the replacement of nonimmigrant aliens with qualified citizens, CNMI permanent residents, and U.S. permanent residents until the workforce participation objective is met. 
§60.2-210 Employers covered. Every employer who employs nonimmigrant aliens, unless exempted, is required to have on file with the Department a written, current plan. A workforce plan is current if it has been updated and filed within the past 12 months. 
§ 60.2-220 Exemptions.
(a) Compliance with the workforce participation requirement. An employer that has submitted to the Department adequate documentation with respect to compliance for the immediately preceding two years with the workforce participation requirement is exempt from the requirement to file a workforce plan. 
(b) Exemption from the workforce participation requirement. An employer that is exempt from the workforce participation requirement is exempt from the requirement to file a workforce plan. In order to be eligible for the exemption, each employer must file with the Department a Claim of Exemption on the standard form provided by the Department. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that a Claim of Exemption continues to be an accurate representation to the Department. 
(c) Loss of exemption. An employer against whom two or more judgments in labor cases or consolidated agency cases are entered in Department proceedings within any two year period automatically loses any applicable exemption and a plan must be filed with the Department within 30 days of the entry of the second judgment.
 The intention is to "Better understand the employers' needs and expectations? Huh? How many employers really appreciate having to create such a plan by law? Isn't this requirement in conflict with federal equal protection laws?

There is some truth to a comment made by Magofna on the Variety website:
Magofna July 16, 2010 03:00PM
Cooperation between an agency and the clients it certifies is always desirable.

Here's the real deal:
BEWARE of the SECRET AGENT MAN! When was the last time (or even the first time) that CNMI Labor told you the truth or cooperated to "assist" you with ANYTHING you need? The answer is NEVER!!!

The Labor Dept. has always been a parasite that feeds off its victims. The Labor Dept. is now a desperate, impotent agency try to bite as many victims as possible before Uncle Sam squashes it once and for all like the squirming insect it is.

TTT's Cruz Lost His Ghost Writer

Greg Cruz wrote a letter to the Editor that was published in the Marianas Variety proving that his ghost writer was not around when he penned his senseless rant.  Cruz attacked DOI's Assistant Secretary Tony Babuata, apparently because he was upset by the State Department's Report on the Trafficking of Persons.

Then again who really knows what he's talking about? His disjointed rant attacks foreign workers.  He accuses foreigners of being responsible for 98.9 percent of crime in the CNMI.  He connects the State Department report to granting foreigners U.S. status.  He complains that foreign workers remit $100 million each year to their foreign countries instead of keeping it in the CNMI.  And more! Read it here. Huh?


The Saipan Blogger said...

So fire 3000 people in the government and make them go work for the hotels!

Anonymous said...

§ 60.2-220(b).

"In order to be eligible for the exemption, each employer must file with the Department a Claim of Exemption on the standard form provided by the Department. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that a Claim of Exemption continues to be an accurate representation to the Department."

So does anyone know what are the actual grounds for exemption?

Does it have anything to do with number of employees? Or already exceeding a specified U.S. citizen (and Lawful Permanent Resident "green card" holder) workforce participation percentage?

Can someone enlighten us?

Wendy said...

You can read the law at the CNMI DOL Website:

Section 30.2-200 Exemptions from workforce participation.
§ 30.2-205 Employers with fewer than five employees. The provisions of Section
4525 of the Commonwealth Employment Act of 2007, as amended, do not apply
to employers with fewer than five employees except as provided in this section.
For purposes of this section, all employees are counted in determining whether an
employer has fewer than five employees. All such employers are subject to the
job vacancy announcement requirements for all job vacancies and all such
employers are subject to the job preference requirements as to citizens, CNMI
permanent residents, and U.S. permanent residents.
(a) An employer against whom two or more judgments are entered in Department proceedings within any two year period automatically loses this exemption. No administrative proceeding is required to remove the exemption. A 'judgment' for purposes of this section is a final action, which includes a
decision of a hearing officer that has not been appealed within the time allowed, or a decision of the Secretary on a matter that has been appealed
within the time allowed, provided however that a stay of the removal of the exemption may be provided by a court of competent jurisdiction. The
exemption automatically becomes unavailable on the date on which the second judgment is entered. The term "two judgments" includes judgments in
two separate actions or cases bearing two separate case numbers, and also includes judgments respect to two complainants in the same action or a case
bearing only one case number.

(b) All retail establishments that handle food stamps shall employ at least one citizen, CNMI permanent resident, or U.S. permanent resident.

(c) An employer or business owner with fewer than five employees who has been in operation or who has held a business license in the Commonwealth for three years or more shall employ at least one citizen, CNMI permanent resident, or U.S. permanent resident.

§ 30.2-210 Particular construction project. An exemption for a particular construction project is available by written order signed by the Secretary.
(a) A “particular” project means a project limited to one building or one infrastructure improvement. "Limited duration" means two years or less.

(b) An application for an exemption for a particular construction project shall be made in writing, signed by the employer, stating the name of the project, the
purpose of the project, the nature of the construction, the location of the project, the total cost of the project, the duration of the project, the number of foreign national workers to be employed on the project, and the 0-NET job classifications of the workers on the project.

Captain said...

This just shows how much attention our elected pay to what is going on around them in the Islands.
It has been published many time about how many foreign workers were registered by the ombudsman office. (They should have called on Pam to give them the info)

These Senators do not have a clue, the DOL does not and never did.
Every so often when Kaipat mouths off about they are all caught up with the "case backlog", there seems to "pop" up many more from years back.
Occasionally when there is a "tragedy" or an incident concerning a CW there comes up that the "connected" employer had no surety bond (as they could not afford the $135) yet they were allowed to employ someone that they also could not pay, let alone provide the basics and also in some cases ship the remains home.
This can go on and on, as all this is well known to everyone except the useless people in the DOL agency and the politicians.
Very sad and embarrassing. (but again, none of these rejects,recycled has beens have no shame or honor or conscience. Their only concern is for their own pocket.

Anonymous said...

One of our local employee got his rebate check last week. He's not reporting to work for two days now yesterday and today and still counting.


Anonymous said...

AMEN! Captain