Tinian Dynasty Continues Wage Theft

November 8, 2011

Tinian Dynasty photo by W. L. Doromal ©2008

Unheard No More! will be featuring employer-thieves weekly. These are unscrupulous employers who blatantly and publicly steal wages from their foreign worker employees. They may have stolen wages a couple years ago, or they may be stealing them right now. The one thing featured employer-thieves have in common is that they have stolen wages, the employees have filed complaints with the CNMI DOL, the U.S. Department of Labor, or both, and the victims still have not received their back wages.

Both the CNMI and the U.S. Governments have failed these employees. They have turned a blind eye to the rampant problem that has caused undue hardship and financial devastation for thousands of foreign workers and their families. Some agencies who received complaints from foreign workers have sat on them for months and even years, giving the workers excuses for their inaction.

Today I received an email saying that foreign workers of the Tinian Dynasty have not received their pay for 9 pay periods (again). This coming pay period will make it 10 pay periods. Their last paycheck was for the pay period covering June 18, 2011 to July 1, 2011.

I wonder if the managers of this establishment would like to try to survive without being paid for ten pay periods.  What is more disgusting is that it is only the foreign workers who do not receive their pay in a timely manner. The resident or "local" workers reportedly do receive their pay in full and on time. This is not only racist, but it speaks to the overall problem with the guest worker program. Any guest worker program, including the proposed CNMI-only program that supports a constantly moving revolving door system, is flawed and subjects the foreign workers to abuses. When employers and corrupt officials know that the workers are disposable or replaceable they are less apt to treat them properly. Such foreign workers will be subject to low wages, poor working conditions, few benefits and wage theft.

Employers are well aware that in the CNMI wage theft is not just the most common crime, but it is also   a crime that is not prosecuted. The $6.1 million in unpaid judgments collected from victims of wage theft testifies to that.  Since 2008 when those judgments were collected, thousands of other foreign workers have fallen victim to wage theft, including nonpayment of overtime wages and illegal deductions. Employers know that as long as the revolving door system is in place, workers will continue to be ill-treated, discarded if they complain and traded in for a new one so the cycle continues. If the government viewed foreign workers as future citizens, this problem would end.

Workers told me that at the Tinian Dynasty the casino business is "back to normal" now. They stated that the average casino income is between 1 million to 3 million a month, which is more than enough to pay all the back wages for all employees and to pay all employees on time.

More disturbing is the fact that the Tinian Dynasty even recruited many employees for its manpower pool. The workers estimate that there are 500 employees, more or less, who are employed at this establishment. They also reported that they have heard that the management has started filing CW applications.

The workers asked me to find out if USCIS can approve Tinian Dynasty's applications without first settling their  back wages. Apparently, they can. I spoke to a person at USCIS and was informed that the back taxes and back pay issue do not impact a determination in classifying a business as "legitimate" or issuing U.S. visas for foreign workers.

Clearly, any guest worker program must have coordination between the U.S. DOL, USCIS and other agencies to ensure protection of foreign workers from rogue employers. All businesses that are allowed to hire foreign workers should be following all local and federal laws, including labor laws. They should have ethical and legal operations. No business should be considered "legitimate" if it owes current or former employees back wages and/or if it owes any local or U.S. back taxes. Why place foreign workers in a company that has a record for abusing them?

As I previously reported, the Tinian Dynasty not only is notorious for not paying their foreign workers, but also has failed to pay their taxes. In January 2011 it was reported that the hotel and casino owed over $317,000 in federal taxes. A lien was placed on the business.  In July 2011 it was reported that Tinian Dynasty Hotel owed over $30 million in back taxes to the CNMI government. Who polices these businesses? Are such businesses allowed to renew business licenses?


Anonymous said...

I agree let's not approve any CW visa applications for the Dynasty. Those workers should go and find other work. There are opportunities all around the world they should not have to work here in the CNMI where they won't get paid. Cease all CW applications for foreign nationals at the Dynasty... These GW have a couple weeks to see if there are any employers who could use their services in the CNMI and are willing to hire them. If not they could go home, no need to work and not get paid. We need to push that issue with CIS

Anonymous said...

shut it down and let it rot. it never worked and never will. just like a casino on Saipan.

Anonymous said...

9:59 I agree this place should be closed to hiring OCWs or anyone until it pays up for taxes and wages owed. Close it up , sell the assets and pay off the debts. Any labor case filed in the CNMI goes in the circular file, which is why these should be considered criminal cases. Oops forgot. Any criminal case gets the offender a slap on the wrist. This place needs laws with teeth. Why should anyone have to go without pay especially when we read this casino gives out 1M in pay outs.

Anonymous said...

From the beginning a few months after opening, TDH&C got permission from the NMI DOLI to pay their employee's wages late.
This set off an increase in late wage payments withing the Tinian employers (and Saipan)as many employers stated if they can get permission to do it then we can do it also.
This has perpetuated ever since.
Also anytime there is a big winner, the employees know that this will further delay their respective wages.
This just happened again as all are aware of the Korean "Taxi driver" that just won over $2mil.
I do not understand how the Feds can allow anyone with tax liens and unpaid employees to hire workers let alone CW.
If I was to apply to renew my business license and owed taxes I would be refused and also brought to court.

Wendy Doromal said...

8:11 If the CNMI Department of Labor actually allowed the Tinian Dynasty to "pay their workers late" this agency has violated the law also. What agency can tell a business it has permission to violate employees' rights and withhold pay? I agree that the CNMI DOL"s failure to enforce their own laws contributed to this mess. The workers say that they have filed a case with the USDOL. What has USDOL done?

the teacher said...

Can we submit nominations for non-payment employer of the month? We have schools, hotels, and others waiting in the wings.

Wendy Doromal said...

Sure just list them here.

Anonymous said...

Wendy, don't you remember that with Dynasty and the wages. It was in the newspapers.
I think it started in 1999.
When Dynasty opened they had around 1800 employees.(including a couple hundred "call girls") Withing about 6 months they were already starting to cut back on employees.
I remember up to then all the business in Tinian used to scurry to collect credits and other moneys owed so they could make each payroll on time.
The Dynasty was having a hard time because of the lack of customers and broken promises by this Govt.
The Govt. had promised them a new airport for direct flights and Seaport for their Ferries before they opened.(but we all know that did not happened)
They couldn't pay their vendors for various parts of the construction etc.
They also used Chinese construction company and paid them Chinese wages etc.
Many of us was taking them to court to try and collect.
At that time Dynasty was paying local help about $4.25+ hr with free meals in the Cafeteria.

Dynasty went to the Govt. and requested permission to delay their payroll.
They got it and it was big news. I (and many others) was astounded and also pissed off because we all had to make our payroll on time.(even though we could not get paid from them and other companies.
It was a chain reaction because of Dynasty failure to pay all vendors. This was one of many such requests about the payroll. After awhile it was just a formality of delayed payroll especially after a big winner. They also started to push out local workers and kept replacing Chinese workers yearly.(also many other Nationalities)
We wondered just who in the Govt. was in bed with them. Who were they paying off etc.
So this is not new, it is just out in the open more now a days.

Anonymous said...

Dynasty is always making money but some where the management is making monkey bussiness,especialy the chairman Mr,KWan.Kwan is a gambler,the hard working employees make money and Kwan gambling in Macau.I heard when CNMI delegation was in HongKOng for bussiness trip last time, were enjoying in Macau with Mr. Kwan.So no one agency from CNMI can touch to Dynasty.When someone is winning 2M dynasty can pay but when it comes to employees wages can not pay,ridiculous,isn't it?Almost six months ago the management spread the news that one of the big bussinessman is eager to invest in Dynasty and they r fixing papers,as soon as paper fixed,u will be paid but it did not happened.Now again the same story is spreading.The chinese management knows well(especially Mr.Tom Liu-hotel and casino Director) how to cheat the employees.But I have a question to those employees who r working for Dynasty-Why don't they stop working?They are the one who giving chances to cheat them,isn't it?