14 May 2007

Delegation from American Samoa to lobby in Washington against minimum wage

10:47 am on 14 May 2007

A delegation from American Samoa is travelling to Washington D.C. to lobby against a bill now before the US Senate to increase the local minimum wage.

The delegation will include the governor, Speaker of the House, Senate President and three District Governors.

Governor Togiola says the territory must present a united front before Congress to avert the planned increase.

A bill approved by the US House of Representatives last week would increase the local minimum wage by 50 cents an hour 60 days after it is signed into law, and an additional 50 cents in the second and third year.

Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin supports a 50 cent hike in local wages and says the canneries have a "hard sell" convincing Congress that they cannot afford an increase.

The congressman says for the past 40 years, StarKist and Chicken of the Sea have maximized their profits off the backs of hard-working Samoans,.