6 Feb 2014

American Samoa cannery in Buy American campaign

4:28 pm on 6 February 2014

About 1,200 cannery employees in American Samoa have signed a petition urging the US Secretary of Agriculture not to amend provisions of the Buy American Act.

The petition is addressed to the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whose department is required to report to Congress potential ways to modify the purchase of canned tuna for America's School Lunch Program.

Starkist is the only company that currently meets the Buy American requirements.

However, if a proposal pushed by StarKist competitors that would lower the US content of Made in America tuna to 75% from the current 100% is approved, it's feared that jobs would shift from American Samoa to countries where wages are lower.

A former Governor Togiola Tulafono initiated the petition and was at the cannery to collect signatures, with boat owners Christina and Carlos Sanchez and Chamber of Commerce chairman Lewis Wolman.