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    Tuesday, July 16, 2019-1:54:21P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Commerce chief on prevailing wage survey: It’s challenging

COMMERCE Secretary Mark Rabauliman is hoping that the U.S. Department of Labor will consider job classifications that were not included in the first round of submissions for the CNMI prevailing wage survey.

The U.S. Department of Labor-Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification approved the first round of submissions last week.

Mark Rabauliman

“It’s very good news for the CNMI business community to now have a prevailing wage survey that is approved by the U.S. Labor,” Rabauliman said in an interview on Tuesday.

But “it’s still challenging because we did not get everybody,” he said, referring to the jobs not included in the approved prevailing wage survey.

The first round of survey covered 84 different occupations.

The Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act of 2018 states that the U.S. Department of Labor “shall make available to employers an occupational wage survey conducted by the governor of the CNMI, and in the absence of an approved occupational wage survey, the Occupational Employment Statistics mean wage for the particular Standard Occupational Classification in Guam will be considered the prevailing wage. Where there is no Guam Occupational Employment Statistics or mean wage, the prevailing wage issued will be the national mean wage adjusted for purposes of the CW-1 program.”

“It is good news all around but if you look at the data, you may ask why a [prevailing] wage is more than the other,” Rabauliman said.

He said the CNMI will ask U.S. Labor to consider other occupational classifications.

He expressed hope that the Commonwealth, which is in a unique situation, can meet the new mandates set by Washington, D.C.

In the next round of the prevailing wage survey, Rabauliman said his department, along with its partners, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Hive Analytics and DataTalks will mention the challenges faced by the CNMI’s island economy.

“We are hopeful, and it never hurts to keep asking,” he added.