Richard A. Pierce, executive director of the Saipan Garment Manufacturers Association, yesterday resigned as chairman of the Minimum Wage Review Committee due to pressure from some quarters uneasy with his representation of the garment sector.
In a statement sent to news agencies as well as members of the committee and the governor, Pierce said he will step aside to allow Susan Briola, who was appointed by Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio to the panel as employee representative, to assume the post.
“I have received a number of calls, some with other agenda and some a little ashamed, about how it appears having a garment industry figure as the chairman,” he said in the statement.
“(A)nd although I am slightly offended that some would infer that I am incapable of being objective, I nonetheless will resign to accommodate others,” he added.
His resignation, according to Pierce, is “to make a point in furthering the work (the committee) will accomplish by recommending to the governor appropriate wage levels.”
He also expressed hope that his successor Briola — from Guam Union Local 5 who was the vice chair of the panel created by the CNMI government last year to tackle the minimum wage issue — will serve the committee as mandated under the law.
“Is there anyone out there that believes that a union representative would be any less biased or prejudiced in chairing this committee than an employer representative from the garment industry?,” Pierce asked.
“I have the greatest respect for Ms. Briola and I will work hard to make the (committee’s) work creditable and in the best interests of the people of the CNMI,” he said.