Unpaid Wages

December 4, 2010

As the CNMI economy continues to struggle, more employers are laying off employees, and in some cases just not paying them.  Earlier this year nurses in Tinian and Rota went unpaid.

It looks like the gambling industry that so many CNMI legislators push as a way to build the economy, is suffering too. A poker cashier is suing Islas Marianas Inc. in federal court  for unpaid wages and a commercial cleaner is suing Jung-A Enterprises, a poker operator, for unpaid wages.

But it's not just the small poker arcades that are suffering.  The Tinian Dynasty is reportedly paying their "local" employees and IRs, but failing to pay the foreign contract workers.  The foreign workers have not been paid for four pay periods now! The fact that the employer isn't paying some workers is bad enough, but the discrimination in excluding only foreign workers makes the whole situation outrageous.

Even the CNMI government is failing to properly pay wages on time to the government employees. This week again most employees did not receive their pay. This was the 6th time this year that the CNMI government could not pay employees all of their wage on scheduled pay days.

Even worse, is that starting October 24, 2010, most CNMI government employees classified as "non-essential" have had their hours cut from 80 hours to 64 hours a pay period. The government workers  also have to compensate for 13 unpaid holidays (formerly paid holidays) making a total 65 fewer paid days annually for those affected government employees. That adds up to a whopping 25% loss of income.

Additionally, many residents have also failed to receive tax rebate checks that were due out in July. With the high costs of food, utilities and other essentials, it's a wonder that families can bear the cuts.

 The Saipan Tribune reported:
Press secretary Angel Demapan, when asked for comment, said non-critical personnel are expected to receive their payroll on either Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

“Due to insufficient funds to cover payroll expenses, the government is once again forced to delay payroll disbursement for government employees who are employed in non-critical services,” Demapan told Saipan Tribune.

Similar to the previous delayed paydays, only critical service personnel such as police officers, fire fighters, corrections officers, juvenile detention officers, doctors and nurses will be paid on Friday, which is an “austerity Friday” which means most government offices are closed.
Wow! That's five or six days late.  With so many people living paycheck to paycheck how can they eat?

Will the elected leaders promise that a reduction in hours would mean that the government could meet payroll obligations, one has to ask will there be layoffs or a further reduction in hours?  You have to wonder what these suffering employees think of the government waste in the form of off-island trips, salaries for "special advisors" and consultants, expensive office rentals, and other nonessential expenses.  It appears that most just accept the fiscal irresponsibility of the CNMI government without much complaint.

©2010

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

All kinds of new "employees" at offices over the last year. Instead of compensate fairly long-time and professional workers, they are chasing away all the able employees and hiring and maintaining armies of political supporters. Every position down to janitor is appointed by governor. That's the fact.

Anonymous said...

Tsk, Tsk. Will there be protests when wages are cut to 50 hour weeks or are all the remaining gvt. employees Fitial loyals? Let's see how long these sheep follow their leader-wolf.

Captain said...

The issue with Dynasty has always been like that over the years.
In the Past the dynasty workers could eat for free at the cafeteria. (on and off duty)The ones that stayed on the site had housing etc.They also could charge at the company store on property.
The ones that needed any money have to write a letter to "draw" money against their payroll and describe why and how much they needed etc.(Including management)
The company calls it a loan of their company money from the employees back to the company.(no interest)
This is why so many use Dynasty as a "stepping stone" to wait for their visa for employment in Canada and jobs elsewhere.

The NMI Govt. should be holding the pay for the elected and Dept heads and then splitting the payroll among all employees percentage wise, equally with vouchers for the balance to be cashed when funds are available.
But it would seem like that after the first of the year the Govt will be forced to look at its workforce and start a RIF.
There is a systematic meltdown and it is only a few steps from the implosion.
When CUC starts to shut down again with rolling blackouts and water, the Govt will be forced to lay off so they can buy parts and meet the rest of the fed mandates. I doubt if the Fed will throw anymore good money after the bad already given to CUC and the inability of most of the Govt agencies to be able to draw down on other funds that are available and have been sitting.
This Govt does not want to RIF before Christmas.
But it is interesting to see just how long the NMI indigenous people will take all of this incompetence in the govt. before they mass up and start to take control of their future instead of waiting for someone else to do something.
The people are like sheep huddled in the corner just watching the sheep dogs to know which direction they will be pushed to go.
The way everyone is "cowering", you would think that Fitial has his own army like Burma (Myanmar)
(But I guess maybe he does, his Carolinian Mafia)
Seems Tina and Associates. are the only ones not afraid.(and on her dime)
I wonder how many years before she will meet the age requirement for for being a Gov.