American Samoa's congressional candidate, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says more than half of the employees of the American Samoa Government are paid more than the federal minimum wage of US$7.25 per hour.
The Congressman told a meeting of farmers that government workers are paid well, as are directors, who got raises of $10,000 dollars even though there was no money budgeted for the increase.
A chief of Pago Pago village Pulu Ae Ae Jr expressed disappointment that the planned 50 cent increase in the territory's hourly wage for 2010 and 2011 has been delayed.
The government and businesses argue that the economy cannot sustain to pay American Samoans minimum wages of the kind mandated in the US .
Faleomavaega says the minimum wage issue is something very important to him and he is saddened with the wide gap in the cost of living and what workers are earning.
He asked the gathering to be patient while a federal study is being done to determine the impact of the wage increases on American Samoa.