Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he has responded to remarks
made by CNMI’s Assistant Attorney General David Lachaby in an article entitled “Faleomavaega mistaken on CNMI’s labor system” published by the Saipan Tribune on January 18, 2007. The full text of the Congressman’s response is included below:
Mr. Lachaby suggests that I do not know my labor laws so I would like to clarify the matter for him one more time. CNMI is exempt from federal minimum wage laws as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). While all other provisions of the FLSA apply to CNMI, federal minimum wage laws do not and this has led to well-documented labor abuse.
This is why ten years ago I suggested to CNMI that they should come under the umbrella of federal minimum wage law and support Special Industry Committees but CNMI failed to take action. While CNMI implemented local minimum wage laws, these were overturned by a previous Governor’s administration. Now Members of Congress are saying it is time to end the labor abuse brought on by CNMI operating outside the scope and intent of federal minimum wage law.
CNMI government leaders agree as they were in my office yesterday asking for my assistance in making federal minimum wage law as defined by the FLSA applicable to CNMI by way of Special Industry Committees.
Faleomavaega concluded his letter by saying, “Given the seriousness of this matter, it is my sincere hope that by way of this explanation Mr. Lachaby will have a better understanding of the law so that in the future he will not expend his time diverting attention away from the real issues at hand by squabbling over the use of language which he has taken out of context.”