Thursday, October 18, 2007


A government which can't operate it's own business is regulating how private businesses should be run. This is not new but it's insulting...
Firms found not complying with 20 percent hiring rule
Labor creates task force to check on businesses
The Department of Labor has created a task force to check businesses on the island whether they are complying with the law that requires 20 percent employment of resident workers. ..... The Whole Story Here
How much more
forced intrusion on businesses, already struggling to stay afloat, can they take. Who needs the Gestapo to come barging in the door and dictate who you should employ? Don't you think the employees of a company should be solely determined by the company's owners and managers? Should you not hire employees by their qualifications rather than by their residency only? This is a blatant intrusion on a businesses ability to enjoy their own private choices of personnel and their own management decisions. You can't get any more anti-business then this. I am sure this is on the top of the list for every businessman considering investing here to think about. Why would you want to come here and be force fed employees?
While working for the company I spent many years with, we moved every time we got a new job contract. We preferred hiring qualified locals every time compared to moving and footing traveling and living expenses of company employees. When the local market couldn't supply the needed qualified people, only then would we import our help. Gathering from this experience I would assume this would be the same thinking of other businesses too. Note I said we preferred locals until the local market couldn't supply qualified help. This could be happening here so there must be some flexibility in the laws. To simply demand a certain fixed percentage of local employees is akin to picking a power rate out of the thin air, it doesn't work that way, a business should be allowed to run their own business, their own way....


lil_hammerhead said...

There is the argument that businesses new this was the law before they set up business here.

There is some reasoning behind the law as well. I have a family member living here, who applied for a particular job here. Now she had extensive experience in that particular line of work and immensely more experience than the non-resident worker who was brought in. She, at her expense, had to pursue a lawsuit to address the matter. Of course the company folded and ended up settling before it went to court.

My point is, the law was put in place to ensure that companies make an effort to hire local workers. If most companies had a choice.. they wouldn't. That's a fact. It's not always because they can't find qualified local workers either. It's about control over their employees.

It will be especially important for the private sector to rethink the way it goes about hiring as the government continues to shrink. A government that would allow the hiring of large numbers of non-resident workers, when their own residents are jobless, is simply not a good government.

A number of fronts need to be addressed to resolve this.. training, education, enforcement of hiring laws, etc. The wage increases should also help address the issue in a couple of years. If it is less feasible to bring in non-resident employees, companies will be more prone to hire locally.

glend558 said...

Responses by paragraph:
1 How many decided not to come here because of this law?
2 Was a lose lose for all. Not good
3 Control of, like showing up everyday?
4 Why should the gov. be involved in hiring at all? I used to hire people for every job we ever did never once dealt with gov. rules.
5 They been 'training' for years now, zilch results, how long will this process take? Wage increases will help? well suprise me, I thought it would devastate the economy. Ask the gov.

lil_hammerhead said...

"Control" by many employers here doesn't just mean ensuring employees show up for work. It means ensuring your employees aren't ever in a position to demand pay raises, to climb the ladder, to question illegal practices, to challenge unfair employer behaviors, to have to take off to attend to a sick child or death, or to deal with all of the other normal everyday things any business employing regular citizens would have to deal with.

Companies here haven't been training people. Let's take a hotel for example. I've known staff at hotels here who have worked hard for years here. They know the ins and outs of the business, they are quite capable and they work hard. But year after year, the hotel hires their front desk manager, or their housekeeping manager, or their f&b manager, and other supervisory positions from off-island. I know that they'd be very capable holding a front desk manager position, but rather than invest in that employee, an employee who lives here and will likely be here for the rest of their lives, that employee will remain in the same position at that hotel for the duration of their employment. The hotel could have provided training and development programs for that employee. This just doesn't happen here. There are very few companies on-island that aggressively train their employees, let alone train their local employees with the intention of them moving up the ladder into management. But then, theirs a reason for this.. why put up with a local/resident manager who will demand a reasonable wage, when you can bring someone in for less money and have the ability to more easily control them.

There are many local accountants. Why do 95% of them work in government? Because the private sector pays accountants $3.55 an hour! That's why. Where else in the United States can you hire an accountant for three bucks an hour? This is insane.

There are all kinds of US Labor laws that relate to hiring and firing practices. If governments weren't involved in labor, there would either still be slavery or we'd have a population of 6-12 year olds doing the work for 10cents an hour. There has to be oversite by the government.

The excuse that local employees don't come to work is nonsense. If they don't come to work.. fire them and hire someone else. If you can't get someone else, or a qualified person is not applying.. maybe you are not paying a reasonable wage for the work.

The private sector needs to take responsibility as well.

glend558 said...

Are we going to write a book here?
If you take notice I never said employers shouldnt hire locals, in fact I mentioned that we always went for locals first and then brought in what wasn't available. Reread my post. This is what we preferred and I suggested they do it here also. My problem was with the mandatory number required whether you need them or not, that being mandated by the gov. is what I was saying was not good for businesses, an unknown factor being forced on already hurting businesses. Thats all. If you read the news article they had businesses going out and hiring people just to satisify the 20% requirement, that is what is not fair. These businesses whould have had these people already if they were truly needed. It sounds like they were hiring for one reason only not because thet needed help but to make the quota.....

lil_hammerhead said...

Sorry Glen.. didn't mean to suggest you said or even implied that locals shouldn't be hired first. The reason the quota was needed is if it wasn't in place, many businesses would make no effort to hire locals. This is why it was enacted, to counter the sole utilization of non-res workers.

glend558 said...

Lets call this a draw I understand your points of view I hope you get mine..Now have a very nice day...
Check the new tech support post...

SteeleOnSaipan said...

But who enforces the corrupt legislators and appointees who make a good side-income signing waivers for foreign-owned companies who don't have 20% local employment, to bring in yet more foreign labor/family members?

That's my favorite part of CNMI politics, that the law applies to all except those who pen them.

Anonymous said...

Intersting points all around, but quite honestly, the reason it's being enforced is that many, many companies artificially pay low wages to avong hiring qualified local employees. I realize there are not enough, but some could try harder.

SteeleOnSaipan said...

I believe that Joeten is still the largest, locally-owned employer. To my knowledge, until the most recent wage increase, they were paying starting wages of 3.05/hr. Most of their employees are local. I've met auto techs at their shop who make less than $1000/mnth. Local guys, been with them for years. How does your theory fit into that equation "anonymous?"

There's a large labor pool of persons of both local and foreign descent out looking for work. Businesses pay 5% import tax on product that costs $5000 per 20' container to ship from CA, then another 5% sales tax, or GRT. Those that do pay their proper taxes in this lousy economy are getting clobbered. The gov't makes more in tax than most legit businesses profit in this environment. How about the power bills and lost revenue if you don't have a generator to stay open when the lights go out? Why do you think that so many flimsy, cheap-knock-off businesses exist here? You think that they are employing 20% local and paying their proper due in taxation? Don't think about it for too long.

Legitimate businesses need to hire the best people, regardless of race. These businesses likely have predominantly local patrons so why would they avoid hiring locals? Businesses are not training grounds nor experimentation labs. They are what bring you your goods and services. Think about that the next time that you have your brake pads replaced, electrical wiring done in your new bedroom or fly trans-Pacific.

To say that companies pay artificially low wages to avoid hiring locals is ridiculous. They pay low wages because they can. This will be a moot point two years from now by the way.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lil... Control the employees? I have to say that if we could get good attendance out of locals they would be hired at a better rate. Most companies would rather hire locally, including mine.

If the local is immensly qualified, like your family member for example, but hardly showed up for work, or would not show up for work often and without warning, would I want them as an employee? Of course not. I don't think it's called "control" when you require your employee show up for work, every day, on time. They depend on a paycheck on time and employers depend on the workers, on time.

And talk about training.. how long have the contract workers been "training" locals at CUC? How long should it take?

Maybe you should start a business and try to hire locally and then you would see. Two more examples. When McDonalds opened on Middle road.. all local hire. Go there now and see how many locals are working. Same goes for the Tinian casino. Opened with a lot of locals working. Go count them now. And find out the real reasons. Not some pipe dream of a fantasy dream world.

Higher wages? Plenty of companies pay higher wages. Extremely flexible working hours with time off for 20 or 30 birthdays, wakes, rosaries, illness and so forth every year, plus holidays? How can a business operate under those conditions, never knowing who will be at work from one day to the next.

Lets face it-- what most of we employers have realized, much of the qualified workforce has left the Island and what remains is mostly unemployable. But we keep trying.

When labor tells sends us a worker who got fired from the past several jobs, can't pass a drug test, and wants us to hire them for a cashier handling lots of money, and if we don't hire them they won't let us renew a key employee who has been with us for 15 years and is the cornerstone of our operations, what are we to do? We hire the referral and not as a replacement for our key person, but as an extra employee whom we don't need. We pay them for a while, knowing that pretty soon they will stop coming to work and that will be that.

lil_hammerhead said...

To the last anonymous commenter.. you're coming up with scenarios that aren't the norm. You can argue it anyway 'til Sunday.. the fact is, companies want non-res workers because they work cheap and can be controlled. Period. There are exceptions here and there.. but they are exceptions.