- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Senate’s wage bill still exempts Samoa
Question of the Day
The Democrat-controlled Senate took up a bill yesterday that would raise the minimum wage across the United States and its territories but exempt American Samoa, where tuna canneries pay workers $3.26 an hour.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters less than two weeks ago that she would close the loophole after coming under criticism from Republicans for what they termed a "fishy favor" to StarKist Tuna. StarKist has lobbied for years against raising the minimum wage in American Samoa, and its parent, Del Monte Corp., is based in Mrs. Pelosi's San Francisco district.
"I have asked the education and labor committee as they go forward with the legislation to make sure that all of the territories have to comply with U.S. law on the minimum wage," Mrs. Pelosi said earlier this month.
The House, however, passed the minimum-wage bill with the American Samoa exemption. And yesterday, Senate Democrats were moving ahead with the original legislation, which for the first time would enforce the minimum wage on the Northern Mariana Islands, another territory in the Pacific with a similarly low minimum wage.
That bill is co-sponsored by several dozen Democrats, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California.
In addition to San Francisco-based StarKist, San Diego-based Chicken of the Sea also has a cannery in American Samoa. Together, the California companies employ about 75 percent of the Samoan work force.
Democrats said they are imposing the wage increase on the Northern Marianas -- a proposal long blocked by former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican -- because of the harsh labor conditions there.
Delegate Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, a nonvoting Democrat representing American Samoa, opposes extending the minimum wage to that territory.
A "decrease in production or departure of one or both of the two canneries in American Samoa could devastate the local economy, resulting in massive layoffs and insurmountable financial difficulties," he said, echoing the arguments of conservatives against applying the wage to poorer regions of the U.S.
"The truth is the global tuna industry is so competitive that it is no longer possible for the federal government to demand mainland minimum-wage rates for American Samoa without causing the collapse of our economy and making us welfare wards of the federal government," Mr. Faleomavaega said.
President wants everyone but himself to pay more
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Afghan who killed three U.S. Marines in 2012 to serve over 7-year prison sentence
- EDITORIAL: Obama's 'economic patriotism' means higher taxes
- HUSAIN: Fleeing Iraqi Christians find safe haven at the Shrine of Imam Ali
- Brian Kelly, Notre Dame ready for different route to title
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq