16 Jan 2007

American Samoa congressman to raise concerns over minimum wage hike

3:51 pm on 16 January 2007

The American Samoan delegate to the US Congress Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says he plans to meet with US House speaker Nancy Pelosi to raise his concerns over a proposed minimum wage hike.

A bill being proposed by U.S.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeks to increase the U.S. minimum wage from its current US$5.15 an hour to US$7.25 over two years.

For the first time the increase includes the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

American Samoa has a minimum wage structure that varies from US$2.63 to US$4.09 an hour, depending on the industry.

Speaker Pelosi now says she will push to have American Samoa covered by the congressional initiative, which has passed the U.S. House and is now before the Senate.

But Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says he's planning further action.

"Well definitely I plan to hold a meeting with Congressman George Miller and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We've got national media attention on this issue especially because of the proposed legislation that's already passed through the House."

US Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin says the impact on the territory's number one employer - the canneries - will be devastating.