Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has written to Governor Togiola Tulafono, and to President Lolo Moliga and Speaker Savali Ale and Members of the Fono to share with them the two letters he received, one from Chairman George Miller, House Committee on Education and Labor, and a separate letter co-authored by Chairman Miller and Chairman Edward Ted Kennedy, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, to Secretary Elaine Chao of the Department of Labor.
“In our meeting with top staffers of both Chairman Miller and Chairman Kennedy, there was consensus that there was not enough specific data and information in the Department of Labor report to address the serious issues whether another increase on wages would negatively impact the standard of living and the cost of living of our workers, especially those who do not work for the local government,” Faleomavaega said.
“No other leaders in Congress know more about the rights of working men and women throughout the United States and its territories than Chairman Miller and Chairman Kennedy,” added Faleomavaega.
“Senators Jeff Bingaman, Daniel Inouye, Daniel Akaka and I have written a joint letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd to amend the current law when it comes up on the Appropriations Supplemental bill in May.”
“Essentially, I’ve tried to work out a compromise language so that at least for the next two years we will get DOL to do a more comprehensive review of the economies of both territories. Until we know for sure, it is very difficult to determine if another increase in wages of 50-cents is commensurate with the economies of American Samoa and the CNMI,” Faleomavaega said.
“We are continuing our meetings with Chairman Miller’s staff on this important issue, and I suggest our local leaders, business leaders and our community review carefully the letter from Chairman Miller and Chairman Kennedy for further discussion. As indicated in their letters, the bottom line is we need more specific data and information before we put a hold on another 50-cent increase on our minimum wage,” Faleomavaega concluded.