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  • Pacific Island Times Staff

CNMI joins Guam in federal/local labor agreement

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has joined Guam in signing off on a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of Labor and its Wage and Hour Division.

Gov. Torres signs agreement. Photo courtesy of CNMI governor's office

On Wednesday, Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres and the CNMI Department of Labor signed the MOU, which is intended to maximize and improve the enforcement of federal labor laws in the CNMI. The day before, the labor partners and Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed off on the same agreement.

Torres and CNMI Secretary of Labor Vicky Benavente signed the MOU on behalf of the CNMI, while Acting Administrator of the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division Keith Sonderling, Regional Administrator for the Western Region Ruben Rosalez, and Honolulu District Director Terrence Trotter represented the U.S. DOL.

“The enforcement of our federal labor laws requires a coordinated effort, and this MOU will empower our CNMI Department of Labor with the ability to assist our federal partners at the USDOL achieve this,” said Gov. Torres.

Secretary Benavente noted that the MOU will provide the CNMI the ability to conduct joint training and outreach presentations about the laws and regulations enforced by both labor agencies.

Terrence Trotter on Guam, with Acting DOL Administrator Keith Sonderling. Photo by Bruce Lloyd

“We appreciate the visit of Acting Administrator Sonderling, Regional Administrator Rosalez and District Director Trotter for this collective commitment to the enforcement of our labor laws. The CNMI DOL will coordinate joint investigations to assist U.S. DOL with enforcement activities, referrals of complaints, and exchange of information. The end result will be the protection of all workers with regards to the payment of their wages, overtime, and other applicable statutes,”

Under the MOU, the CNMI DOL and the U.S. DOL agree to coordinate joint outreach presentations and distribute educational material for the community. The agencies also agree to work to provide a side-by-side comparison of laws with overlapping provisions and jurisdiction.

“This partnership will be mutually beneficial for the CNMI and our federal partners. We share a collective goal to protect all of our workers and their wages,” Torres added.


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