10 Jul 2007

American Samoa feels first impact of new minimum wage

10:35 am on 10 July 2007

American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono says the impact of the new federally mandated minimum wage hike is starting to take effect.

Togiola says COS Samoa Packing has started to lay off employees.

Although the government has tried its best to prevent this from happening, he says it's a private company and there is not much the government can do at this point.

Samoa Packing announced in May that the initial 50 cent hike will result in just over 200 workers being furloughed.

Togiola says there is hope for these laid-off Samoa Packing workers because of word he received last week from a StarKist Samoa official who told him their company hopes to adjust certain expenses in order to be able to recruit workers.

There's also been a hike in ocean transportation rates for a shipping company that serves American Samoa which is likely to lead to an increase in the cost of goods.