The island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands has one of the rapidly developing gambling fields in the past years and this could be further boosted with the help of a proposed independent monitoring board which would oversee the operation of casino employees only. Focusing on this sector only and its needs, the proposed extension would aim to bring benefits to the field and their overall work process.
This week brought the news that Senator Paul Manglona (R-Rota) has proposed an innovation to the structure of the gambling field which would strive to improve the status quo and boost its development. At the moment there are two institutions which provide the field with guidance – the Commonwealth Casino Commission and the Lottery Commission. Each of them is responsible for the hassle-free operation of the two preferred gambling activities, but what they fail to deliver is an appropriate protection of employees in the field.
Casino’s labor force across the venues in Saipan also need to be overseen by a regulator, as it was proposed by Sen. Manglona. According to an email he addressed to the two commissions, the monitoring apparatus would guarantee better operation in the field and see for the rights of employees hired by casino developers and operators. The project is going to be financially supported by the casino operator Imperial Pacific International, aiming to closely observe whether or not labor regulations are being taken into account throughout the operation of the Imperial Pacific Resort Hotel which is currently still under construction.
Minding employees basic rights and making sure they are provided the needed level of professionalism when it comes to the work conditions and the general atmosphere, this new board is projected to be of significant importance for the future field. Imperial Pacific International and its contractors are expected to see the benefits of such board and guarantee that the operation complies with the established labor regulations. Experts were suggested to be introduced to the board, offering their insights into the operation of a given casino resort.
Workers Labor in Need of a Better Regulation
Another important feature of the board could be taking action in situations which involve a wide range of complaints expressed by the workers and suggestions made by them. Employees training would also be considered some of the responsibilities of the board, as well as the mandatory questions regarding salaries, healthy standards of work, maintaining the proper work conditions and environment, safety at the work place. The issue with visa and immigration rights has been among the widely discussed ones in Saipan, as there have been issues with construction workers.
The workers employed by the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands utilize temporary CW-1 visas. They had arrived from China as tourists and this resulted in their rights not being protected the way they would be with the help of work visas. Among some of the wrongdoings of the firms were paying their employees less than the minimum wage, which did not correspond with the amount of work done by the workers. There was also no payment for the overtime work hours which is also mandatory according to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
With the help of proper regulations and the proper monitoring of actions, this situation could be easily avoided in the future. According to the estimations, the annual expenses on the proposed board would reach some $350,000, provided by Imperial Pacific. Damage control is not a new occurrence in the public space, as it is considered beneficial in the long run. The region has suffered the consequences of previous hits on its good reputation over the said workers, as well as the repeated delays in the official launch of the casino resort.
Now the casino developer made it clear that as many as 600 construction workers from the Philippines have been employed to finish the project in time for the newly appointed deadline this December. Following the issuing of their H-2B visas, they would support the currently working 1,000 people on site.
In addition to that, a Japanese investor Paraisu Corp voiced its interest towards developing a casino resort in the CNMI introducing foreign investment, which has the potential to go smoother than the currently ongoing resort construction work. This month is going to witness a second meeting between Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang and Company Executive Yusho Oki which could result in a progress towards a second casino resort.