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Business executive: Employers should document efforts to hire US workers

MARIAN Aldan-Pierce, district president of DFS and board member of the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corporation, said there is a need to document efforts in recruiting U.S. citizens and permanent residents to show the federal government that the business community in the commonwealth is complying with the mandate of the law which is to prioritize the hiring of U.S. qualified workers.

In her remarks to the Saipan Chamber of Commerce at the Fiesta Resort on Wednesday, she said some U.S. lawmakers believe that the local business community is not doing enough to hire more U.S. workers.

“We know that this is not true — we are trying to hire more U.S. qualified workers. But the perception is there that we have not taken the probable loss of the CW program seriously. We are now in the process of asking for the extension of the CW program, but to be successful, we need to take more affirmative steps to recruit U.S. workers not just locally but from off-island. If our efforts to recruit enough U.S. workers are still not successful, then we would have done all we could do to help underscore the fact that foreign labor is still a critical component in the CNMI’s growing economy.”

Marian Aldan-Pierce

Aldan-Pierce said the issue of documenting their efforts to recruit more U.S. workers was discussed during a telephone conference with their representative in Washington, D.C. early last week.

“The apparent trend in Washington, D.C. is to eliminate guest worker programs like the CW program. But we have special and unique circumstances, and the onus is on us to show what efforts we have taken to justify the continuation of the CW program,” she said.

Various recruitment activities for U.S. workers are already taking place, she added.

“These efforts need to be documented. We must carefully document and catalogue everything that we do to recruit U.S. workers, and we need to catalogue job ads that are placed in newspapers and posted online with lots of details — like how many applied, how many were offered jobs, how long did they stay and if they are no longer with us, why did they leave.”

She said they want to have a binder full of dates of all job fairs that have taken place or are scheduled with details regarding the date, time and location, and any advertisement done beforehand, how many people showed up and how many applied for jobs.

Aldan-Pierce said these bits of information should be submitted to the chamber as soon as possible.

“We need not only to prove what great efforts the business community is making to recruit U.S. workers, but we also need to prove that the CNMI is a difficult place for many off-island U.S. workers. For those who bring people from off-island, how has the tight housing situation on island affected your efforts? We are severely lacking in affordable and safe housing units.”

She said the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corporation will compile all information received from businesses and will submit it to the governor’s office and the office of U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.

“If we want to have continued access to foreign workers beyond 2019, it is of utmost importance that we show our efforts to recruit non-CW workers. We cannot just say that we are doing it — we have to prove it, and we do this through detailed documentation. We are all in this together, and you have to do your part because there is not one person or one organization that can do all this Please remember that if we fail, this is it. There are no other options out there. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting this done.”

The Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corporation is working closely with the Torres administration to make sure that a comprehensive bill which recommends an extension of the CW program beyond 2019 and the increase of the CW cap is inserted in federal legislation.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/96649-business-executive-employers-should-document-efforts-to-hire-us-workers

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