Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Job for the Unemployed

In the aftermath of the "Tuna Bill" - the exemption for Samoa in the new minimum wage bill - I think we all need to chip in, and fund a tag-along for Nancy, as seen below.



OK, he's a little young, but you get the point.

What is this about? Well, according to the story in Town Hall:
in the rush to get the minimum wage boost to the floor, the Democrats exempted workers on American Samoa where the minimum wage starts at $2.63 per hour.

American Samoa is, according to the historyofnations.net website: "An unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US; administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of the Interior."

American Samoa has a representative to the US Congress (Eni Faleomavaega) who has no vote. From that standpoint, American Samoa has exactly the same status in the US House as the District of Columbia.

It's principal administrative area is Pago Pago which is pronounced "Pango-pango."

According to the Department of Labor:

Canned tuna processing is by far the largest private-sector employer in American Samoa. Many of the other private-sector jobs provide goods or services to the tuna processors. Moreover, the economic growth of many other private-sector employers in the consumer retail and service sectors is tied to tuna industry expenditures.

The two biggest tuna processing companies in American Samoa are StarKist and Chicken of the Sea. StarKist is owned by Del Monte foods. Del Monte foods is located in San Francisco, California the home district of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (emphasis mine)
We need to hire someone who has a flair for the dramatic, and is free to travel to places Nancy is likely to be - CA and Washington, for example. It could be both effective and a lot of fun.



Any conservative or libertarian interns open for a little fun?


I just checked FoxNews. A report by Brian Wilson insists that the exemption is no biggie, just an oversight. He believes that there is no validity to the rumors of a connection between Nancy Pelosi and the major employers in Samoa, who, BTW, just happen to be headquartered in her San Fransisco district.

Just coincidence.

At CNN, I couldn't even find a reference to the story.

On ABC News, I found an update to the story, not present in many other reports:
Fending off charges of favoritism, House Democrats say a just-passed minimum wage bill will be changed to cover all U.S. territories including American Samoa before it reaches President Bush's desk.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters she has instructed the House Education and Labor Committee to help get the bill changed to "make sure that all of the territories have to comply with the U.S. law on minimum wage."

Her remark Friday followed accusations from Republicans a day earlier that American Samoa, which is not now covered by the $5.15 an hour federal minimum wage, was not included in the law raising the federal pay floor to $7.25 an hour because StarKist has a large cannery in the island chain. StarKist is owned by Del Monte Foods Co., which has its headquarters in San Francisco, Pelosi's district.
Lest the Republicans crow TOO loudly,
The measure included in its coverage another U.S. territory, the Northern Mariana Islands, which had been shielded in the past from the wage law with the help of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, now serving a prison sentence.
Did YOUR representative vote for it? Search below:

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am a resident of American Samoa. I am a Samoan, as well as a U.S. Citizen. Yes, it would be nice to have the minimum wage increased, but doing so would ultimately hurt, not only, the tuna industry, but the island as a whole. Our island is remote, and pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

Small businesses will hurt with this change, and this will have a domino effect on the island which will eventually hurt the general public. Jobs will be cut, Hours will be cut, and cost of living will rise.

I believe if we're going to go in accordance to the federal minimum wage, there needs to be planning. Because asking American Samoa to double the wage is too big of a jump for an island as poor as ours.