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Commerce chief urges employers to cooperate in wage survey

DEPARTMENT of Commerce Secretary Mark Rabauliman is urging CNMI employers to cooperate in the prevailing wage survey that will start on March 28.

In an interview on Thursday, Rabauliman said he is “humbly asking and encouraging every employer in the CNMI to once again welcome the request for information and respond to it as soon as they can so a final report can be published in due time for everyone to use.”

Mark Rabauliman

With assistance from the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp., the department is launching the prevailing wage survey which is expected to be completed on June 30.

The 2016 prevailing wage survey for the CNMI expired in January, and without a new prevailing wage survey, employers applying for CW-1 permits for their nonresident workers will have to use Guam’s higher prevailing wage rates, the NMBAC said.

Rabauliman said updating the existing CNMI prevailing wage report will take a “slightly different route.”

“This time around, it will be a partnership between key government agencies such as the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor and key private entities such as the Saipan Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp,” he added.

“The role my department plays will not be too drastically different from the previous time we did the prevailing wage survey. Although my department is not involved in some aspects of the project this time around, many important key roles remain part of my department’s function, such as ensuring that the methodology used will give us the data needed for worker’s visa requests and that it is consistent with our standard survey procedures and methods. We will also ensure maximum protection of company proprietary information in accordance with our CNMI Statistical Act. In addition, we will act as the point of contact for communications between our local partners and the pertinent federal agencies,” Rabauliman said.

“My office welcomes this new partnership and is committed to the successful completion of the 2019 prevailing wage report,” he added.

Commerce has contracted Hive Analytics headed by Matthew Deleon Guerrero who will work with Wil Maui of DataTalks in conducting the survey.