USA: American Samoa congressman asking for subsidies

In my post of 21 August 2008 titled "U.S. minimum wage: exception for American Samoa. The end of a subsidy?." I pointed to the possible end of the special regime for this U.S. overseas territory, as regards the ability to pay salaries lower than those paid at federal level.

Well, as the Samoa Minimum (hourly) salary is being brought in line with the federal minimum wage, canneries are leaving the islands because of the lack of competitiveness of the industry.

Chicken of the Sea will close its Samoa plant at the end of September, laying off 2,172 workers.

The management of the other big cannery, owned by Starkist, recently announced that around 350 workers will be laid off in the course of the coming months.

This situation has led U.S. Congressman Faleomavaega put forward a proposal to Congress to save the industry.

According to different sources Mr Faleomavaega is working with Star Kist Samoa to prepare such proposal.

In an article published in Radio New Zealand’s website the general manager of the cannery, Mr Brett Butler, is quoted as saying:

“Having a unified approach to the US Congress will put us in a better position and make them understand that this is something that will definitely help the people, the businesses and everyone around here in American Samoa. It is asking for the US to subsidise, but it is something that is needed to keep the economic viability here.

It is remarkable how candid and honest is Mr Butler when stating the need for financial support to his company.

Here is the link to Radio New Zealand’article:


And here the link to Mr Faleomavaega Congress’ website where additional material can be found on his work to obtain federal subsidies for American Samoa’s tuna industry.


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