28 Jun 2011

American Samoa congressman seeks help to end minimum wage increases

1:33 pm on 28 June 2011

American Samoa's US Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, wants to ensure there are no more wage hikes under the federal government's plan to bring the minimum wage in US territories to the same level as the mainland.

He wants a hearing on the 2011 General Accountability Office report on the impact of the wage increases on American Samoa and the Northern Marianas.

And Faleomavaega has written to the chair of the Natural Resources Committee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs, John Fleming, asking for his help.

In the letter Faleomavaega says the new model of exploiting cheap labor in foreign countries has impacted on the tuna cannery StarKist's ability to stay competitive.

He says as a result of StarKist's disadvantage in the U.S. marketplace, the company has had to lay off workers and with the closure of the Chicken of the Sea cannery, American Samoa's economy has floundered.

And Faleomavaega told Mr Fleming that Tri-Marine, which bought the Chicken of the Sea facility, won't be able to absorb any further increases in the face of local and global challenges.