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.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.
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.
Unlucky at the Casino