Kilili: USDOL enforcement helps stop bad actors


Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) issued the following statement yesterday on the U.S. Department of Labor’s announcement that it has finalized settlements with four of the Imperial Pacific International casino construction subcontractors for $13.9 million in wages and damages to over 2,400 workers who came to Saipan to work on the project:

“I appreciate the work of the U.S. Department of Labor and all the other federal agencies in investigating and enforcing U.S. labor law violations at the casino resort construction site on Saipan.

“The announcement comprises settlements with four subcontractors that will provide nearly $14 million in owed wages and damages to over 2,400 workers at the construction site. These settlements resolve part of the wide-ranging, continuing investigation of labor law violations at this site.

“The settlements, and previously announced large-scale fines by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for worker safety violations, send a stern message that federal laws are enforced in the Marianas, and employers who try to skirt the law and undercut their workers will be held accountable.

“I applaud [Labor] Secretary [Alexander] Acosta’s commitment to preventing visa fraud and abuse and protecting U.S. workers.

“Recent legislation introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and myself, the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act, contains new rules to better protect all workers, and help weed out the bad actors from legitimate businesses.

“These massive violations of U.S. law, and other allegations associated with casino activities, give the Marianas a black eye and make it increasingly challenging to pass necessary legislation to maintain a sufficient workforce and to maintain our parole policy, which are both essential to sustaining our economy.

“We must all be vigilant—the Commonwealth government, the business community, and workers who know their rights and are willing to come forward—to ensure that laws are followed and workers are treated fairly.” (PR)

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