American Samoa's Governor Togiola Tulafono has made an urgent plea to US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for assistance in seeking Congressional aproval to delay the 2010 increase in the local minimum wage.
The governor said that the announced closure of Samoa Packing in September as well as cutbacks by Star kist Samoa are a direct consequence of ongoing increases.
Federal law requires American Samoa to increase its hourly wage yearly by 50 cents until local wages reach the federal level of US$7.25 per hour.
The third increase since the federal law was passed in 2007 is due to go into effect May 25.
The governor is asking that the 50 cent increase due in May next year be delayed one full year.
He said the delay will allow the administration and Congress time to evaluate suitable legislation without the pressure of a crowded legislative calendar in an election year.
He is also asking that the Interior Secretary support a reinstatement of the biennial review of local wages by a special committee established by the Department of Labor.