CHC Employees Should Sue

March 11, 2012

I know there are many attorneys in the CNMI. So why aren't the individuals who are not being paid their full salaries on time; not receiving their housing allowances; and are being told that they must now pay the delinquent employer's share of their health and life insurance premiums, suing the CHC?

What will it take until the employees decide that enough is enough? Their positions are clearly unstable, as the hospital is on life support and getting closer to death even though a state of  emergency was declared.

The Marianas Variety reported that the insurance companies are demanding payment in full from employees for their insurance premiums even though the government has already deducted the fees from their paychecks. The article stated that CHC personnel received letters from the Government Health and Life Insurance Program stating:
“THIS LETTER IS NOTICE THAT YOUR HEALTH AND/OR LIFE INSURANCE(S) WILL BE CANCELLED IF YOU FAIL TO REMIT THE SPECIFIED PAYMENT TO THE GROUP HEALTH AND LIFE INSURANCE TRUST WITHIN FIFTEEN DAYS OF THE DATE OF THIS LETTER,” shouted the first page in bold, capital letters.

GHLIP and Retirement Fund Administrator Richard S. Villagomez signed the letter and furnished copies to Gov. Benigno R. Filial, CHC CEO Juan N. Babauta, CEO–CHC and the Retirement Fund’s board of trustees.
The specified payment represents 100% of the overdue employer and employee premiums for the last seven pay periods, according to the article. Did the GHLIP also send a threatening letter to the CHC?

What happened to the U.S. Department of Labor investigating the unpaid wages and benefits? Like too many agencies in the CNMI, they too appear to move in ultra-slow motion. Nurses from Rota and Tinian complained to this U.S. agency years ago concerning nonpayment of wages.

Further complicating the situation is the fact that the Marianas Public Land Trust, which was said to be negotiating a loan for the bankrupt hospital appears to be backing away. Why? Because the CEO hired Alvaro Santos as the CHC's new chief financial and administrative officer. Santos was an MPLT board member and voted on giving CHC the loan, creating ethical questions.

Another questionable CHC hire was the newly hired medical supply officer who is said to be the first cousin of CEO Juan Babauta.

I am not sure if there are many employees of the CHC that can afford to just walk away. But the way things are progressing (or not progressing) it looks like the hospital will be shutting it doors soon and they will have no choice. They should sue before they leave.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, sue and sue quickly. Maybe some assets can be sold to pay the employees and all of their health and life insurance costs. This is robbery!

captain said...

Although I agree on this course of action, as in the past there is no collection for any lawsuit against the Govt.
From what has been written in the past when this has been questioned, it was stated the the legislature has to appropriate the money to pay off lawsuits.
Since this is never done (unless they are related to the elected) this is a no win situation.
Look at just a few, The outer cove Marina, The retirement Fund, how many "land acquisition" deals that went to court.
There are so many court ordered payments, but few are ever paid.

Anonymous said...

The employees need to find a way into federal court. Only then can the government can be ordered to pay by federal courts, which have ways to enforce judgments that the local courts would be powerless to enforce. Otherwise, the employees should give up and look for new jobs. Even with a loan, CHC will be on the brink again next year at this time. The CNMI is now in partial meltdown and, without evasive action, will be in full core meltdown within a year.

Anonymous said...

capt,

so what do yo suggest that we do if you think suing is futile? i'm not being sarcastic but any suggestion will be considered.

Anonymous said...

Capt,

if you think suing is futile, what do you suggest that we do? i'm not being sarcastic but any sensible idea would be considered.

Captain said...

Noni 8:29, Noni 6:24 answered your question. Maybe by filing a labor complaint with the Feds may do it. But I would approach Pam Brown, the fed Ombudsman. I am almost certain she could suggest something. And good luck as something does need to be done.

This is also the case with the other Govt. employees, they are getting deduction taken out from their pay (also stolen)that is supposed to be paid into the retirement fund along with the Govt. contribution but nothing is paid into the fund.
I would think they also have a case but because of the resulting fallout and backlash from the Govt.and resulting loss of their job and also any other family member Govt. jobs if they were to file some kind of case none will open their mouth.
Again good luck, and stick together.