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News Release

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.


Employment Standards Administration

ESA Press Release: Herman Appoints Committee To Review Minimum Wage Rates In American Samoa [05/29/1997]

For more information call: (202) 2l9-8743

Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman today announced the six members of the committee selected to review current minimum wage rates for all industries in American Samoa covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal wage and hour law.

The committee hearing is open to the public. It will begin June 23, 1997, in Pago Pago, America Samoa.

The committee consists of two members each selected to represent the public sector, employers, and employees. Jerome Ross, who will also serve as chair, and Sapa T. Vaivao will serve as public representatives. Cheryl A. Vink and Joseph M. Pereira will serve as employer representatives. Serving as employee representatives will be Keir Jorgensen and Senator Moaaliitele Tuufuli.

The FLSA provides that minimum wage rates in American Samoa may be established by special industry committees at rates below that required on the mainland. The current mainland minimum wage is $4.75 an hour; and is scheduled to increase to $5.15 on September 1, 1997.

After holding public hearings to review local economic conditions, including testimony from interested parties, the committee will determine whether Samoan minimum wage rates - currently $2.45 to $3.75 an hour - should be increased or should remain at current levels. The committee cannot recommend that wage rates be decreased.

Based on its findings, the committee will recommend to the Labor Department the highest rate for each industry that will not substantially curtail employment and will not give industries in the territory a competitive advantage over similar mainland businesses. These recommendations will be published in the Federal Register and take effect 15 days after publication.

The FLSA objective with respect to wage rates below the mainland minimum is to increase Samoan rates to the mainland minimum level as rapidly as is economically feasible without substantially curtailing employment.

According to the most recent information made available to the Department, there are more than 11,000 public and private employees in American Samoa protected by FLSA, including most of the approximately 4,500 employees of the Government of American Samoa. Tuna fish canning is the major private sector industry, employing almost 4,400 workers in two canneries.

The FLSA provides for minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor standards and is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department's Employment Standards Administration.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employment Standards Administration
May 29, 1997
Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number