Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-20-06

Kennedy Adds Amendment to Raise Minimum Wage, Includes Mariana Islands

Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) has offered an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill that would raise the minimum wage for American workers from $5.15 to $7.25 over about two years, including workers in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The current minimum wage in the CNMI is only $3.15, compared to $5.15 in the United States. Kennedy’s amendment would require a 50-cent per-hour raise every six months until the Mariana Islands’ minimum wage meets the federal standard. A bill addressing similar issues was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this month by Representatives George Miller (D-CA), Hilda Solis (D-CA), and John Spratt (D-SC).

The Marianas are subject to US laws, but are exempt from US minimum wage requirements and most provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Currently, some 30,000 temporary “guestworkers” — predominately women — from China, the Philippines, and Thailand sew clothing for top-name American brands, which are then allowed to label the clothes Made in Saipan (USA), Made in Northern Mariana Islands (USA) or Made in the USA. Reduced to little more than indentured servants due to the high recruitment fees and the low minimum wage, many of these women have been subjected to long working hours (some up to 20 hours a day or even off the clock), and poor living conditions, according to an investigative report in Ms. magazine.

Since 1995 at least 29 different bills regarding labor and immigration issues in the Northern Mariana Islands have been introduced. Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff worked on behalf of the Marianas government and its garment industry to ensure that Congress would not pass laws to improve wages and working conditions for the Marianas workers. Tom DeLay, one of Abramoff’s staunch Congressional allies, helped in keeping any bills regarding the Marianas from reaching the House floor, according to Rep. Miller, and even called the Marianas “a Petri dish of ‘capitalism’.”

LEARN MORE For more on this exclusive Ms. investigative article, pick up Ms. magazine on a newsstand near you.

JOIN Ms. and receive the premier feminist magazine delivered to your door

Media Resources: Statement of Sen. Edward Kennedy 6/19/06; Feminist Daily News Wire 5/8/06, 6/8/06; Ms. Magazine Spring 2006


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

9/17/2014 Despite an Overall Decline in the Poverty Rate, the Number of Women in Poverty Hasn't Changed in a Year - Last year, almost 18 million women lived in poverty in the US - and that number hasn't improved for women, despite the overall poverty rate declining. Analysis from the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) of recently released US Census Bureau data shows that the poverty rate for women is not only virtually unchanged, but - at 14.5 percent - it's the highest in two decades. . . .
 
9/16/2014 Senate Republicans Blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act Again - The Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) yesterday, marking the second time this year and the fourth time since 2012 legislators voted along party lines against the equal pay legislation. . . .
 
9/15/2014 The Economic Recovery Isn't Reaching Black Women in the Workforce - The economic recovery isn't making a difference for African American women this year, according to data analysis from the National Women's Law Center (NWLC). Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the NWLC found that the overall unemployment rate dropped 1.1 percentage points in the period between August 2013 and August 2014. . . .