Samoan Congresswoman Comes Out in Opposition to Minimum Wage in… Puerto Rico?
Last year, U.S. Representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen of American Samoa, introduced legislation before Congress to block a scheduled minimum wage increase for American Samoan workers of just fifty cents, and yet another bill to reduce another scheduled increase. These bills passed in 2015, despite the fact that scheduled minimum wage increases occur at an anemic pace — 40 cents an hour every three years — that barely keep pace with inflation. As it is, the minimum wage in American Samoa still leaves workers there with much lower pay than in the rest of the United States.
Radewagen and her colleagues argue that better standards for workers aren’t possible in Samoa… and now she is turning the same argument to Puerto Rico. As Representative for American Samoa, Radewagen is representing her constituents by… cosponsoring a new bill to cancel the minimum wage in Puerto Rico.
How does canceling the minimum wage in Puerto Rico help the people of American Samoa? I’m at a loss to find an answer. It is curious to note that the top five sources of Rep. Radewagen’s campaign contributions are from international businesses that continue to profit from a low minimum wage in places like American Samoa. Is there a specific connection to Puerto Rico? I can’t find it. Any light you might be able to shed on this odd alliance, stretching across so many time zones, would be appreciated.