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14 Mär 2019

Aaron Halegua

Chinese construction workers sue Saipan casino and its Chinese contractors for forced labor scheme in U.S. federal court

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15 March 2019

Press Release:

...Seven Chinese construction workers, who labored on the Imperial Pacific casino and resort project in Saipan, part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (“CNMI”), have amended their lawsuit in the federal district court there to allege that they were victims of a forced labor scheme.... 

...It is alleged that, “Plaintiffs were required to work over 12 hours per day without any rest day, and sometimes were forced to work a 24-hour shift. Even though Plaintiffs’ pay rate was already below the legal minimum wage, their employers systematically withheld a portion of their earned wages and often failed to pay them anything for weeks at a time. Plaintiffs were crammed into dormitories, some of which had no showers or air-conditioning. Their supervisors yelled and cursed at them, and forced them to pay fines if they did not work hard enough or arrived late. The Imperial Pacific construction site was also extremely dangerous. The injury incidence rate exceeded the national average as untrained and inexperienced workers were pushed to work around-the-clock while basic safety precautions were ignored.”

 ...As for Imperial Pacific, the First Amended Complaint alleges, “Imperial Pacific knew about or, at a minimum, recklessly disregarded its contractors’ exploitative and illegal practices…. However, rushing to complete the project, rather than remedy the situation, Imperial Pacific and its contractors sought to conceal their illegal scheme from government authorities, medical providers, and any other party that might hold them accountable. Imperial Pacific and its contractors denied entry to an investigator from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration …who came to inspect safety conditions on the worksite. The unauthorized Chinese workers were also told to hide when government inspectors did come to the worksite or dormitories.”...