I guess Agriprocessors wants to get them to Postville…
After all, they've never seen snow or felt subzero temperatures – let alone seen how little $10 an hour buys in America's heartland.
By the way, I think the reporter thought there were already 150 Palauans in Postville. Off the top of my head, the actual number is less than 25, I think.
The Saipan Tribune reports:
150 more Palauans needed at Iowa meatpacking plant
By Nazario Rodriguez Jr.
The controversial meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa is in need of 150 more Palauans, according to Minister of State Temmy Shmull of the Republic of Palau.
Shmull was the guest speaker at the 14th anniversary celebration of Palau Independence Day organized by the Palauan Community Association on Saipan at the American Memorial Park last Saturday.
He recently represented outgoing President Tommy Remengesau at the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York from Sept. 23 to 26.
From New York, Shmull visited the Paluans who were earlier recruited to work in Agriprocessors, the Kosher meatpacking plant raided by immigration agents last May.
“They need around 300 for the slaughterhouse,” he said.
This would give also a chance for Palauans on Saipan to seek employment there. Some 300 of them are living in the CNMI.
The visit he said gave him a chance to see the Palauan workers' plight and personally give morale support to them and assured them that the government of Palau is closely monitoring their situation.
Shmull said the workers are definitely in good condition and well protected by U.S. labor laws.
Asked if Palau can supply the 150 more Palauan workers being requested by the plant's management, Shmull said that is one of the problems to be settled at home.
Palau has a population of slightly over 20,000, including nonresident workers mostly from the Philippines and China.
Some 5,000 Filipino contract workers comprise the biggest bulk of employment in the private sector in Palau. Local residents are only second.
Palauans are employed in the national government, receiving a “meager” income compared to the $9 per hour that is guaranteed for every Palauan worker now employed in Postville, Iowa.
The basic pay in Palau is $2.50 per hour.
Palauan nationals can travel and even live in the U.S. mainland with easy processing of travel documents, a privilege under the Compact of Free Association signed between the governments of Palau and the United States in 1994. Also under the Compact, Palauans can join the U.S. Armed Forces without going through a difficult process.
Earlier U.S. immigration officers raided the meatpacking plant and alleged that the plant had been employing illegal aliens, particularly from Mexico and other South American countries as far as Somalia.
The raid on the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant that exposed dangerous and brutal working conditions there, was considered as the biggest ever in U.S. immigration history.
The state of Iowa accused the owner and managers of the plant with more than 9,000 counts of child labor violations.
But Shmull said that upon his visit there, the Palauans are in “very good conditions.”
“I'm happy for them because they have been given the opportunity to have a job,” Shmull said of the 150 workers.
He said that aside from the bigger salary, the workers are also guaranteed medical insurance, paid vacation and other social security benefits under federal regulations and labor systems.
He said this is a big impact to Palau's economy.