The recent episode of 60 minutes that highlighted football in American Samoa was interesting. It was a great story but they missed something. What was it? The real story…
American Samoa is responsible for providing 50% of the tuna that we have on our shelves today, Chicken of the Sea and Starkist. When Bush passed the bill to increase minimum wage in 2007, the wages were reportedly $3.35 an hour. It has since then increased to $5.50 and has aim to reach $7.25.
Now, the intention was for Congress to make Samoans to have fair pay and for employers to pay them equal wages in return for their work. These were good intentions! However, that is NOT what happened.
After the bill was passed, Chicken of the Sea closed its plant down and laid off thousands of Samoans. What was the result of this? Instead of being employed at $3.35 an hour they are now unemployed at $5.25 an hour! The bill destroyed the employment opportunity of Samoans.
What did Chicken of the Sea do next? They opened up a brand new facility in Georgia, however robots not people are doing the canning now! The end was result was that the bill made labor uneconomical and allowed Chicken of the Sea to seek an alternative of higher priced Samoan labor for lower cost machines.
What is Starkist up to? They layed off thousands of workers and are now lobbying Congress to roll back minimum wage! Guess what? If they don’r succeed they WILL follow in the footsteps of Chicken of the Sea.
According to research 80% of Samoans worked directly in the canning industry. If that information was so easy to locate by just doing an internet search then Congress surely knew too.. but now the lives of the Samoans are ruined.
Another serious problem– because of this bill there is also inflation in Samoa. Now that tuna is not being carried back on the ships that bring in goods and merchandise to the Samoans, they leave empty which means that the Samoans have to pay more for the goods that are brought over on the ships that they used to receive at a lower price!
End result…unemployed Samoans with an increased cost of living.
Keep in mind that the same governmental concept is used all over the world. If this concept is happening in Samoa you better believe its happening in the U.S. and even Chicago may be next.
Based on a report by Peter Schiff
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