IPI: We have workers leaving every week


The 3,000 worker slots that were cut from the CW-1 program this fiscal year affects not just mom-and-pop stores but also large employers like Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, which says it is losing construction workers weekly.

According to the progress report it submitted to the Commonwealth Casino Commission in mid-September 2017 on its construction project in Garapan, IPI claimed total number of 581 workers.

Yesterday, that number was dramatically down to only 207 remaining construction workers working on the Imperial Pacific Resort.

“The biggest issue [to the progress of IPR] are the [lack of] workers,” IPI executive officer Eric Poon told CCC members.

This December, several more construction workers would have to leave the island due to the CW-1 cuts for fiscal year 2018, Poon added.

He told the CCC that they have been in contact with 37 local contractors in an effort to get more construction workers.

“[With the CW-1 issue], we have workers leaving every week and the numbers keep reducing,” Poon replied when CCC chair Juan Sablan asked how the number of workers for November, which was 291, plummeted to only 207 in just one month.

On the bright side, Poon said, IPI is currently negotiating with three potential contractors with access to U.S.-eligible workers. Poon’s report said the contractors were from Guam, Hawaii, and Saipan. However, he did not disclose the names of these companies, saying they were still negotiating.

IPI’s general contractor used to be MCC International but that company became embroiled in a scheme of employing illegal workers, resulting in the loss of many workers. Poon said that MCC no longer has workers working on the construction of IPR.

When asked when IPI could strike up an agreement with their potential sources of workers, Poon replied that he could get an agreement “within this week.”

“We are looking at 100 to 200 U.S.-[eligible] construction workers,” Poon said, adding that within a week, a solid answer may be provided to the CCC.

CCC executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero asked if Poon is still comfortable with the August 2018 completion deadline for IPR, to which Poon responded, “Yes.”

According to IPI official reports, completion percentage of the casino resort was estimated at 63 percent, same as their previous report to CCC during the last CCC meeting in late October 2017. A mid-September 2017 IPI progress report stated that their progress displayed a difference of 3 percent. Their July 2017 progress report was reportedly at 59 percent while their mid-September 2017 progress report was at 62 percent.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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