Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and CNMI Department of Labor signed a memorandum of understanding last Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to maximize and improve the enforcement of federal labor laws in the CNMI.
Torres and CNMI Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente signed the MOU on behalf of the CNMI, while Keith Sonderling, acting administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division; Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the Western Region; and Terence Trotter, Honolulu district director, represented the US DOL.
“The enforcement of our federal labor laws requires a coordinated effort, and this MOU will empower our CNMI Department of Labor with the ability to assist our federal partners at the USDOL achieve this,” said Torres.
Benavente noted that the MOU will provide the CNMI the ability to conduct joint training and outreach presentations about the laws and regulations enforced by both labor agencies.
“We appreciate the visit of [Sonderling, Rosalez, and Trotter] for this collective commitment to the enforcement of our labor laws. The CNMI DOL will coordinate joint investigations to assist U.S. DOL with enforcement activities, referrals of complaints, and exchange of information. The end result will be the protection of all workers with regards to the payment of their wages, overtime, and other applicable statutes,” Benavente said.
Under the MOU, CNMI DOL and U.S. DOL agree to coordinate joint outreach presentations and distribute educational material for the community. The agencies also agree to work to provide a side-by-side comparison of laws with overlapping provisions and jurisdiction.
“This partnership will be mutually beneficial for the CNMI and our federal partners. We share a collective goal to protect all of our workers and their wages,” Torres added. (PR)