Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 26 Mar 2019 12am







    Sunday, March 24, 2019-7:21:21A.M.






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Feds look into IPI’s H-2B compliance; casino investor says it abides by all laws, rules

THE U.S. Department of Labor is conducting an investigation to determine if Imperial Pacific International is in compliance with the H-2B program.

Variety learned that USDOL’s Wage and Hour Division is communicating with the H-2B employees of the Saipan casino investor.

But USDOL said its investigation does not mean that the company has violated any law.

In a statement, IPI said it has not violated any local or federal labor laws or regulations, and is complying with all U.S. and CNMI laws and regulations.

USDOL is urging H-2B employees to contact its office for a phone interview, adding that the department would like to discuss the employees’ wages and the hours they worked for the company.

The employees were given no later than Oct. 30 to contact USDOL investigators. The department said the employees will be provided with a translator.

Recently, IPI  terminated the contracts of its 80 H-2B workers from the Philippines. Most were masons engaged in the ongoing construction of the casino project in Garapan.

Around 20 of these workers, who were paid over $14 an hour,  left the island last week.

The workers arrived on island in July under a three-month H-2B visa program. Before they were notified about the termination, the contracts had been extended until Jan. 31, 2019.

IPI said the workforce reduction was made “based on the demands of the construction project,” adding that  “This adjustment is in line with effective workforce planning and efficiency improvement of the project.”