Sunday, December 16, 2007

The labor bill was not marketed well

I like Cinta Kaipat a lot for all the reasons I described here. I don't agree with her on everything. She did a lousy job convincing the public this bill was helpful, and from what I read of it, it sure doesn't look helpful. I pay attention to local politics pretty closely and the first time I heard about this bill was when Zaldy Dandan tore it to shreds. She, and others, should have been out in front getting her message out before the business community and the opinion makers tore it a new one. She should have gone on Harry's show early on, and she should have convinced the chamber. She didn't. They balked. She staked her re-election on this bill, and it damaged her reputation as a progressive. Worse, it didn't get her re-elected and may have actually damaged her chances -- plus this bill is 1/3 of the way to being bye bye already.

It pains me to see this attributed to her in her final days in office: "The principal sponsor of the bill that is now Commonwealth Employment Act of 2007 says foreign workers who can’t stand the local labor system can leave." I asked her about it, and she says it is inaccurate and she was misquoted. It wasn't a direct quote, so the author might not have captured the meaning quite as she intended. She is putting together a statement, and I will include that here when it is completed. She has long claimed to have her differences with the Variety, and that story was principally her reaction to media coverage of the bill, which has long been critical.

I can understand where Cinta is coming from right now on an empathy standpoint. She takes her integrity very seriously. Thousands of people were out protesting her signature legislation. Her bill has been attacked vociferously. The business community doesn't like it, the guest workers don't like it, and the locals seem mostly indifferent. If it was designed to ward off the feds, it doesn't seem to be working. It also doesn't address the biggest issue: low private sector wages.

Zaldy captured this point and made another good one in his Friday column. "My main argument, however, against the local labor law’s latest, well, reincarnation is its proponents’ claim that it will “allow” more locals to get private sector jobs. As if “loopholes” in the law were the reasons why a local family man doesn’t want to work eight hours a day for $3.55 an hour. Private sector jobs require actual work for low pay. In contrast, CNMI government jobs mean way higher pay with little or no work required. I guess what I’m saying is that the proponents of the new labor law should just come out and say that it’s not really about the “economy” and “self-government,” but about their desire to return to those simpler, guest-worker-free days. It’s more honest and, for me, perfectly understandable."


Anonymous said...


We had thought Cinta too, was a progressive here especially with her support of BCNMI and Paws. Then when she supported some of Stanley Torres' screwball schemes we started to wonder.

When the Labor Bill came out, and she was so proud of every aspect of it, we started to see her real side. The main message of the Labor Bill is for guest workers to leave, and leave BEFORE the US Gov't does anything to give them any resident alien status.

For Cinta to come out and actually try to misquote her own legislation to put a better spin on it is what has harmed her. A couple years ago a long time resident here told me Cinta is just a rubber stamp for her Uncle, and it's become pretty clear to me that person was right on.

Even guest workers I've talked to have no issue with trying to increase the percentage of locals working in the private sector, but why should a family that's lived here nearly twenty years, with an American born son serving in the US military have their Mother "deported" if she loses her job and the husband doesn't make the Hawaiian poverty level wage to legally support her here?

For Cinta to support and even sponsor that kind of legislation shows her true concern for non-indigenous people...including you!

Jeff said...

I think she saw some things in her labor job that influenced her on this bill. She should have invited the business community early on. One other thing is this bill isn't just all Cinta pushing this through. The legislature as a whole voted for and contributed to this thing. The difference is I would expect Cinta to be fighting the excesses in this bill. I know her too well not to buy the rubber stamp line.

Brady Barrineau said...

Federal intervention will supersede all local labor and immigration laws.

Including the one that just passed.

-Brady Barrineau

Jeff said...

yup, i mentioned that.

Brady Barrineau said...

Notice I used the word 'intervention' and not 'takeover'. Takeover sounds, well like an invasion.


Last Weatherman said...


I think you were mislead or have a misunderstanding as to the origin of the bill for you to say "She should have invited the business community early on".

This bill is an involved work of art and none of our legislatures wrote it.

While Democratic members of the US House prepared intervention legislation for our horrific situation, local big business members of the Chamber worked on a local bill. 6 months ago our news media had never seen this bill. The Chamber, along with our local govt. sent a team to Washington DC to block federalization. The local bill was always a fall back plan to sweep away contract workers with labor cases and US minor children under the wire if federalization came. Our Chamber, other business leaders, and our weak government were in denial about federalization in the summer of 2007.

I have nothing against Cinta personally, be she did not write this bill, to say so is a boldface lie. She was the co-auther of the legislation in the House but she did not draw up this document and I know who did and when.

bradinthesand said...


that's an awfully big word for a man-whore

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Good use of words, Brady! I hadn't thought of that one.

The Feds use "Covenant Implementation." You want to implement the Covenant don't you? Most people would support that based on name alone.

We could probably also use, "Federal Support Institutionalization"

"Long Term Increased Funding Planning"

"Mo Money"

Brady Barrineau said...

Thanks Angelo. Mo Money is the best one so far, you even have some ebonic phonics in there. BTW, Blade Runner is by far the best sci-fi flick ever, second is Dark City, a very close second.


Anonymous said...


As for a Federal takeover, just be thankful ol' Prez Bush hasn't heard there are NMD's here or he might already have invaded!

Jeff said...

His term isn't up yet, don't feel too safe.

Brady Barrineau said...

NMD's are new to me. Clinton wanted to federalize this place way before Bush, it was the Republicans who wanted to keep it the same. Funny world. In fact, Clinton lobbied for the Feds to intervene in the CNMI, Abromoff and Delay fought very hard indeed...Jeff, sorry, but I had to bring it up.


Jeff said...

And Clinton was right, which he usually was unless it involved keeping his dick in his pants.

Brady Barrineau said...

Do you have something against blowjobs Jeff? The most powerful man in the world has every right to a good knobber once in a while. If Barack Hussein Obama becomes Hillary's running 'mate' then it's revenge time for what Billy did with Monica.

Dogwood said...

Actually, it was Representative Elton Gallegly, Republican from the district encompassing Ventura County and Santa Barbara County, who first introduced federal takeover legislation for CNMI immigration in 1993 or 1994.

Since the Republicans were in the minority then, it didn't get far.

How the world turns!

glend558 said...

Lie, Lie, Lie, Deny, Deny, Deny, all politicians do it, this one is no different....