Acting Labor Secretary Gil San Nicolas, as the former Enforcement Division director, reiterated his agency’s commitment to settle the issues raised by a number of Chinese construction workers.
The workers staged a number of protests the past few months, claiming that contractors hired for the casino project in Garapan failed to pay their wages and overtime, did not treat their injuries, and made them work in unsafe conditions. The same workers entered the CNMI as tourists.
MCC International, Gold Mantis, and Beilida Overseas (CNMI) Ltd. are the concerned contractors. MCC is a state-owned contractor while Gold Mantis is reportedly under Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration that designed the Beijing National Olympic Stadium or Bird’s Nest.
San Nicolas said he continued what former Labor chief Edith DeLeon Guerrero has started. “We continue to work closely with the U.S. Department of Labor in investigating and trying to address the issues.”
“They have been meeting with us and getting more information about this. We had also met with the lawyers of the contractors to settle the issue. Local Labor is working closely with the investigations, and we’ve been communicating and coordinating with our U.S. counterparts as well as with the lawyers of the companies,” he added.
The Torres administration, in a statement to local media, said that Gold Mantis and U.S. Labor had already reached an agreement that they would settle the payment of all workers they hired and send them back to China.
Making sure that all workers of the three contractors get paid and continuing collaboration between U.S. Labor and its local counterpart has also been the administration’s policy, the statement added.
The administration said local Labor officials would continue to work with its U.S. counterparts in assuring all policies work within the boundaries of federal laws in solving the issues with the Chinese workers.
U.S. DoL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has also proposed to impose $193,750 in fines and penalties on the three construction firms after finding out that they violated federal regulations.
OSHA cited MCC International Saipan Ltd. Co., the main contractor, with 10 violations that cost $81,484 in penalties while Nanjing BeiLiDa New Material System Engineering Co. is given $81,483 in proposed penalties for 10 violations. Gold Mantis Construction Decoration Saipan LLC is being proposed with $30,783 in fines for four safety violations.