Fireworks at Tinian Dynasty






















December 20, 2010

Anyone with a conscience would boycott the Tinian Dynasty's New Year's Eve fireworks display, but Tinian Mayor Ramon Dela Cruz has announced that people should attend. The municipality can't afford their own display, so he wants residents of Tinian to attend the celebration at the Tinian Dynasty. The Saipan Tribune quoted him:
“We decided to hold off any grand fireworks display for the New Year celebration because we can't afford it. I know that Tinian Dynasty will put together a bash strictly for the celebration, so we just encourage our people to join in the said event at the hotel's lobby.”
People! The Tinian Dynasty cannot afford to sponsor a New Year's Eve bash either! The mayor knows that the casino is struggling.  In fact, if he reads the newspapers, he should know that the business owes its foreign workforce hundreds of thousands of dollars. What is he doing about that?

With just a few days before Christmas, I have been informed that the management of the Tinian Dynasty owes foreign workers pay for up to 5 pay periods, or salary for ten weeks.

After I publicized the fact that the management is not paying the foreign workers, the local CNMI press picked up on the story and a check for the October 9 to October 22, 2010 pay period was released.  One might think that they would have been paid all of their unpaid wages after the publicity, but according to foreign workers, they have not.

The foreign workers at the casino and hotel continue to state that the "local" and IR employees are receiving their pay checks while they are going hungry and unable to pay bills.  Both the discrimination and unpaid wages was reported, but it continues.

Despite the fact that the workers are not being paid, Tinian Dynasty manager Alfred Yue, lied to the press by claiming that the company was "one month behind in payment, not two."  Again, the fact is that workers are owed wages for five pay periods. Yue is the Grinch that is stealing Christmas from hundreds of foreign workers. 

Yue is not only a Grinch, he is also a human trafficker.  Several years ago, I interviewed his victim who was held as a virtual slave and beaten. From my 2007 CNMI Status Report:
I interviewed the one Chinese victim of human trafficking for labor. She lived in the shelter for over two years and was, in fact, the shelter’s first victim. She was recently given a T-visa (special U.S. visas given to victims of human trafficking) and will be leaving for the states to an undisclosed location within weeks.

When she entered the room, I was struck by her grace and dignity. This woman who had been a kindergarten teacher in Yanji City in Jilin Province of the People’s Republic of China, had been a slave in the CNMI. She came to Saipan from China in December 2004. She was recruited by Zhang Jian Hua, the mistress of Alfred Yue, the general manager of the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino. She was hired to be a babysitter for their infant child. Her contract, a standard CNMI labor contract, stated she would work as a waitress at the casino, but it was in English and the woman did not understand it. She served the mistress in China by babysitting for her child for a month before she was actually hired, a test drive of sorts.

The employee arrived on Saipan in late December 2004. The woman worked 20 or more hours a day, not just as a babysitter, but also cleaning the apartments rented by her employer, and cleaning the Echo Karaoke Bar late in the evening after it closed. She shared a room with several prostitutes from the bar, the brother of her employer, and his girlfriend. When she complained about not being paid or about the long hours she was forced to work, they beat her. Twice she was beaten unconscious. She was paid $255 for the entire five months she worked on Saipan.

In May 2005, when she complained about not being paid, she was again severely beaten. The employer forced her to sign a statement that she was a bad employee, abused the child under her care, and owed money to her employer. Zhang Jian Hua claimed she owed money for the airline ticket, and for recruitment fees. The employer wiped lipstick on the victim’s thumb and made her put her thumbprint and signature on the statement that was written on a sticky note.

Bleeding and shaken, the woman managed to escape to a nearby road. An American passerby called the police who took her to the emergency room, and then to Guma Esperansa. The CNMI Attorney General’s Office managed to file only one charge against the employer for assault and battery. The employer served only 16 days in jail, for 8 hours each day. She was released each evening because she had a child.

While the CNMI government failed to file human trafficking and other charges, the woman’s attorney Mark Hansen, filed a civil suit in U.S. District Court against the employers charging human trafficking, unpaid overtime compensation, unpaid minimum wage, breach of contract, fraud, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, and negligence.
In 2009, the lawsuit was settled between the rich manager, his mistress, the company and the victim. There appears to be an established pattern involving this "manager" and serious labor abuses. It seems that the enforcers with power within the CNMI are ignoring this situation or are slow to react.  (Ten weeks without pay and growing!) I will contact federal officials including some in Washington, DC to see what can be done to get these workers paid.

See also:
Unpaid Wages
Unlucky at the Casino

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

There was also other incidences involving a nightclub in Saipan that was Dynasty involved concerning workers and "human trafficking" but it seems that that might have been swept under the rug by the NMI Govt.officials as once it "became public" it just seemed to fade away.
There have been many others incidents over the years in Tinian by employers that have refused to pay their people and have terminated them and bought them tickets and literally sent an escort with them to Saipan to make sure that they get on the plane.
I managed to "capture" a couple of them during somee of those days and eventually get a favorable labor award for them but the collection was difficult as DOL would not enforce it and pushed for the employee to be "repatriated".
Some of us got power of attorney from the workers and pushed for the agreed upon installment payment which we deposited into an ATM account that was accessible for the worker that left.
We did this not for monetary gain. These employees just happened to be friends or relatives of friends.

Anonymous said...

10 weeks no pay? Where is the US DOL? PAY THEM BEFORE CHRISTMAS. GRINCH AND A SCROOGE!

Anonymous said...

We just can't accused people of something without getting our facts straight. FYI Mr. Alfred Yue is NOT THE OWNER of Tinian Dynasty, he is just a mere employee just like the rest. The company also owes him months of salaries. So, obviously the salary does not come from his own pocket.
In case nobody knows, Dynasty is a dying company. Mr. Yue is one of the reason why it is still surviving. He has been the voice of a lot of the employees. Without him the company will be a communist company.
If I were Mr. Yue, I will resign. He works so hard, whatever he gets from Dynasty is not worth it, he is just putting his family at risk.
And If I were some of the people who works in Dynasty, who are no longer happy and feels that the company no longer satisfies their needs, I suggest that they too resign. But if you think that you need the company just as much as it needs you, then help instead of putting it down.
If you're really an advocate of the workers what good will it do them if we boycott Dynasty? Just another unpaid salaries? Or are you looking forward for the Dynasty to completely shut down? Will you be feeding these people, housing them, sending their kids to school? Why can't we give Mr. Kwan the owner, Mr. Yue and the rest of the managements some suggestions on how to manage the company since we know better. Why can't we be constructive instead of being destructive. This is not the time to think like crabs we all need each other for the whole CNMI to survive.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 12:43

The post reads "manager", not owner. Yue was identified as a manager of the Tinian Dynasty.

I never frequent businesses that treat their workers badly, including Walmart. I don't buy products made using slave labor including Hershey's chocolate. If you want to give them business, go ahead and while you are there please give a big tip to any worker who serves you.

FYI -I just heard that from an employee that the foreign workers received one pay period check today, November 22. So now they are 4 paychecks behind. While you are at the Dynasty please ask the management to pay the workers for the other pay periods!

Anonymous said...

12:43 "If you're really an advocate of the workers what good will it do them if we boycott Dynasty? Just another unpaid salaries? Or are you looking forward for the Dynasty to completely shut down? Will you be feeding these people, housing them, sending their kids to school? Why can't we give Mr. Kwan the owner, Mr. Yue and the rest of the managements some suggestions on how to manage the company since we know better. Why can't we be constructive instead of being destructive. This is not the time to think like crabs we all need each other for the whole CNMI to survive."

First off, do you prefer the fact that the Dynasty doesn't pay it's foreign workers, but pays the local workers is covered up? Or maybe you think that the story should be ignored or swept under the rug. I'm pretty sure that the suggestion is, "PAY YOUR WORKERS ON TIME." The suggestion is, if you can afford a big celebration, you can afford to pay the workers. How is that message destructive? You are okay with people being 5 pay periods behind in their pay? Where are your constructive suggestions? Is kill the messenger your way of being constructive?

Wendy, you are right that they got paid today, but they received one pay period's pay today, December 22, not November 22 as you wrote.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 3:26

Oops, you are right I should have written "December 22", not November 22. The workers were given one check today, December 22 for the Oct. 23 to Nov. 5, 2010 pay period. They are still owed for 4 pay periods.

I'll state publicly my "suggestions": If you are a worker at the Tinian Dynasty (or ANY CNMI company) and you are owed back pay, call the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division at 233-0730. I was told to ask for Dean Tenorio. You can also contact the San Francisco office at (415) 625-7720 or visit their website at www.wagehour.dol.gov. The ombudsman's office can be reached at 322-8034. Make note of the day and time you call and the person that you talked to.

Everyone should be paid their wages on time. It is the law. To have paychecks delayed for 5 pay periods is a huge burden on the worker and their families and it is illegal. If you are not being paid on time, take action to get your pay!