Monday, May 05, 2008

Worker's Rights

Faleomavaega says, "No other leaders in Congress know more about the rights of working men and women throughout the United States and its territories than Chairman Miller and Chairman Kennedy." I have to ask our Congressman, what exactly are those rights? Are workers being forced into labor camps in American Samoa? Are employers pointing guns at employees and saying, "Work at this wage rate or else?"

Perhaps he is referring to the minimum wage, which is not a right. If it were, it would exist with or without the presence of government. For example, if there were no government, would you not defend your life in the wilderness? If there were no government, would you not defend the property you acquire to preserve your life? But how in the world could one impose, let alone articulate, a right to a minimum wage upon his neighbor if there were no government?

The only right a worker has is his freedom to contract. Government has a role to protect against fraud and ensure safety, but is that what the US Congress is fighting for in American Samoa on behalf of our people? The only rights Chairmen Miller and Kennedy are interested in are not the ones government is meant to protect, but mere demands of their constituents backed by the force of law.

Congressmen Faleomavaega, Miller and Kennedy say that not "enough specific data and information" was provided to warrant a delay in forcing up the minimum wage. My other question to Rep. Faleomavaega is: why wasn't this request for data and information made before they decided to impose and raise the minimum wage law?

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