On top of the Commonwealth Casino Commission and the Lottery Commission, a separate board is being proposed to oversee the casino’s labor force.
In an email to members of the Lottery Commission and Casino Commission members, Sen. Paul Manglona (R-Rota) recommends setting up a separate board to oversee the casino, at the recommendation of an unnamed individual.
Manglona suggests that the government set up an independent monitoring mechanism—funded by casino owner Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC—to ensure compliance with labor and safety regulations of the casino licensee and their contractors.
In a separate interview, Manglona told Saipan Tribune that this would ensure IPI’s compliance with labor laws and regulations. “It would be good to put people in there that are experienced and knowledgeable with labor issues,” he said, adding that this is a mere recommendation.
According to Manglona, the proposed board would cover all employees involved in the casino construction or related fields, regardless if IPI hired them directly or through contractor.
The board would regulate grievance procedures, where workers will be able to submit questions, suggestion, or complaints to an independent third party.
The board would also be inspecting construction sites, living quarters, and other areas through “unannounced audits” as well as conducting worker trainings on the rights of workers, including wage and hour laws, health and safety, visa and immigration rights, and grievance procedures.
The cost for the board’s operation is approximately $350,000 annually, which IPI is expected to shoulder.
“During the garment industry period, I personally introduced legislation, Senate Bill 11-98…to address this similar issue. However, the garment association created its own monitoring system through a code of conduct to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations,” wrote Manglona in his email to the Lottery Commission and the Casino Commission, adding that he agrees that an independent monitoring board to ensure compliance with labor and safety regulations must be set up.
“With the negative publicity Saipan and its casino industry have been getting, this will significantly improve the image of our paradise island and most importantly enhance our standards for the treatment of workers, working conditions, and living,” he continued.