13 Sep 2010

American Samoa Lawmakers call on Governor

10:09 am on 13 September 2010

With another round of layoffs looming at the StarKist Samoa cannery in American Samoa, territorial lawmakers are urging Governor Togiola Tulafono to establish a task force.

The first round of lay offs was implemented last month, with close to 400 workers out of jobs.

During a previous House Commerce Committee hearing, StarKist Samoa general manager Brett Butler reiterated the request for a task force help identify areas to assist the company, which plans to carry out phase two of the lay offs in October.

In non-binding territorial House resolution approved on the weekend, House members said the closure last September of the Chicken of the Sea cannery plant and the recent downsizing of StarKist has dramatically increased the number of displaced workers in the territory's workforce.

To help identify possible solution to assist StarKist, the resolution requests the governor to establish a joint Government-StarKist task force to identify possible alternatives and incentives designed to lower operating costs for StarKist in order to improve its long term sustainability in the territory.