Random thoughts on Tinian issues


The Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino labor issue is something the people of Tinian seriously need to address. Otherwise we will be looking at a major layoff in our government too, because most of the revenue generated from this industry contributes to local government employees’ salaries.

The Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino provides a major role in the development of the workforce by providing training and education unavailable at present for unemployed individuals on Tinian. It also contributes the highest amount of revenue for the people of Tinian.

USCIS’ issues with the CW non-renewal will affect the economy of our island. The previous administration was informed to develop the workforce before last year but up until now it is not yet completed.

The people of Tinian gravely needs education and training support from an accredited institution in order for the island’s workforce to be able to provide the needed U.S.-qualified workers needed for this casino industry—the only industry that provides most of the jobs for unemployed individuals on Tinian and for some Saipan residents looking for jobs on Tinian. This industry is the only one that provides the largest amount of money and job opportunities for the people of Tinian.

At present I observe the need to improve communication between the Labor Department and the Tinian Dynasty human resources management. In past years, employers were mandated to hire and train the local workforce but there has been no support from our government to improve the quality of the workforce development. Put yourself in the employer’s position. If they tell you to hire and train local workers, what are the benefits that you will get from this? What are the losses that will affect your business? Yes, you will have more local labor but the only problem is, what if these trained individuals quit and go work for the government or mainland and Guam? Would that be a loss for you?

The picture now is most employers have lost interest in training locals who are not qualified for the job because it affects the financial part of the business and its operations. After they train an employee, he/she leaves for a higher paying job in the government or the mainland and Guam.  At present many local employees work and then quit after not even a year or a month. Yet no one bothers to look into this issue.  CW employees are also afraid to train locals because they will lose their jobs. Many of these CW workers have worked here for so long and wish to stay and become residents. Some of these CW say that all they want is a place to live, nothing else. They will work for the CNMI just so long as they are allowed to be part of us. Some say that they are knowledgeable of the citizenship issues, they have no intention of taking over. They only want to be part of CNMI.

Why not have the Northern Marianas College train the local workers—offer certificate programs and have the Tinian Dynasty pay for their employees’ training? In that way there is a guarantee that everyone will benefit because the employee is certified, Dynasty will have trained employees, and the government will generate revenue from employee’s tax and the college too will generate revenue to improve the education needs of the CNMI people. And lastly, it will change the behavior of the local employees and CW workers. I mean, with this type of support, everyone is doing their part so no one will be biased against each other.

Let me simplify it. At present CW workers think local workers are lazy and undependable. Local workers think CW workers are protecting their job so that they can bring in more CWs to take over their job. This kind of behavior creates conflicts among employees, employers and the economic workforce development.

I hear many unemployed local individuals want trainings so they can go to work in the career they choose. They said they feel uncomfortable not being able to do anything that they are not trained to do. So if we have our government provide the trainings for the local workers through an accredited institution, I’m sure no one will be offended. The employer will not worry about having a reliable, qualified local workforce and the CW workers will not be insecure of local workers because they are already trained and are ready to work. They will only worry about losing their jobs because of their citizenship.

But since we don’t have enough labor, it is an essential issue to look into those CW who have been working here for over 20 years and grant them the citizenship. I think that granting citizenship might help us to address some of this labor issues. Many think of it as they might take over, while the CW think of it as being part of the residents. I am one of the many whose parent have been alienated because of similar issues (my father is Korean and my mother is half Korean and Chamorro).  Believe me, even after all the abuse and unprofessional judgment against us, I never thought of myself as alien, but part of this community, with no time to waste on these unprofessional behavior toward us. Instead I study their behavior and practice and help them make a better person of them. For those who has been working here for more than 20 years, I feel the need to give them a chance to prove me wrong that they will not take over but become part of us.

If we let them go, what are the chances that we will be able to be on our own? Many of these are our caregivers, carpenters, farmers, waiters, friends, and some are families. So think of about it. Are we ready to be on our own? Do we really have enough labor? Would keeping some help us in our future economic development?

Peace to all. Hope you have better ideas to help.

Winnie Atalig
San Jose, Tinian

Winnie Atalig Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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