21 May 2009

CNMI foreign workers anxious for improved status through federalisation

7:06 pm on 21 May 2009

Foreign workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas are keenly awaiting the improved status they believe will accompany the United States' assumption of greater control of the territory later this year.

At a US House subcommittee hearing on federalisation this week, a majority of witnesses requested that the transition to federal law, originally scheduled to begin next month and then delayed until late November, be delayed further.

Those opposed to federal provisions being extended to the CNMI say the new rules threaten to collapse the economy.

But the president of the United Workers' Movement, Rabbi Syed, says contract workers favour federalisation because they believe it'll improve their immigration status and standard of living.

"We are asking federalisation because we think our alien workers are being abused in CNMI long time. A lot of workers have unpaid wages. We have 6.1 million dollars unpaid wages and we are looking forward to see federalisation in CNMI so that's how it will establish level rights and we will have US standard of living."

Rabbi Syed of the United Workers' Movement.