Friday, January 12, 2007

Just once could we have some honesty from Washington D.C.?

No, this is not about the President, it's about Congress. As I was jaunting about the blogosphere this morning I first came across this:

STEVE DOOCEY: We teased you with this a moment ago. On Wednesday the U.S. House passed a bill that says the minimum wage in this country will rise over time from $5.15 an hour to $7.25. Now, here's the thing. Included in the small print is the fact that the minimum wage will now include the islands of the northern marinas but it exempts American Samoa which is the only U.S. Territory not subject to minimum wage laws.

So, I headed over to read this bill myself, after all this seems like a pretty crappy thing to do, especially considering how many Democrats support the concept of Fair Trade. However, unless there is some super secret form of this bill other than the one I found on thomas loc? I'm not seeing what they are talking about. What the bill does state:


(a) In General- Section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206) shall apply to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

(b) Transition- Notwithstanding subsection (a), the minimum wage applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands under section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206(a)(1)) shall be--

(1) $3.55 an hour, beginning on the 60th day after the date of enactment of this Act; and

(2) increased by $0.50 an hour (or such lesser amount as may be necessary to equal the minimum wage under section 6(a)(1) of such Act), beginning 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act and every 6 months thereafter until the minimum wage applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands under this subsection is equal to the minimum wage set forth in such section.

No where does even mention American Samoa, so while it is true that American Samoa isn't listed, there are other territories that are not listed, does this mean all of them are not required to pay the minimum wage? It's obvious if you visit the actual government website for American Samoa that their cost of living is much lower than ours. A job opening in the government for an Assistant Attorney General asking for a law degree and three years of experience has a starting wage of $38,000 a year...Granted Housing, travel, household moving expense and free medical are provided and if you are a lawyer who has dreamed of living on an island this might be a dream come true but no one can say it's exactly "high wage".

Yet, as the bill points out the wages in the Northern Mariana Islands isn't going to be the same as the minimum wage in the US. Upon further searching I discovered a document from 2003 that states what the minimum wage per category for American Samoa, and then found in 2005, the minimum wage for most categories was increased. Which might be why it wasn't addressed in this bill rather than having anything to do with this whole "Tuna Gate" theme...


Hooda Thunkit said...

The devil IS in the fine print and the exclusions...


superherofan said...

How about some honesty from the bloggers smearing campaigns... American Samoa has always been exempt from minimum wage laws.

At least according to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and subsequent amendments.

Let's do a little more research before jumping on the bandwagon.

Lisa Renee said...

I did do research rather than to assume it was related to "tuna".

I'd suggest you read my post again.