Guam – Senator Rory Respicio met with Department of Labor Director Leah Beth Nahalowaa and Sherman Grandy who is the fraud prevention manager of the U.S. embassy of Manila.
Grandy is here on island to discuss a variety of issues including measures to ensure that Philippine workers coming to Guam aren’t abused or taken advantage of while on-island. Senator Respicio asked both Nahalowaa and Grandy what can be done to prevent this an other types of fraud.
[Photo: Senator Rory J. Respicio, Mr. Sherman L. Grandy, and Ms. Leah Beth Naholowaa]
Grandy and Nahalowaa said it comes down to conducting the proper screening before allowing these workers to come to Guam.
“The other thing we work to ensure is that the local hiring company in the Philippines isn’t charging a placement fee to the worker we don’t want them to become indentured servants we want them to come here work earn money for them and their family and then make sure that there are no labor violations while they working here in Guam,” explained Grandy.
Grandy is on Guam at the invitation of Department of Labor Director Leah Beth Nahalowaa.
Senator Respicio also shared with Grandy, his January 2011 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, requesting that a Labor Attaché be stationed in Guam to oversee the needs of foreign workers, the number of which is expected to increase exponentially in light of the buildup.
Grandy expressed agreement with the position and offered to take the message back to the Embassy.
Senator Respicio Issued the following release regarding Grandy’s visit to his office:
Respicio Meets with U.S. Embassy Official
(Hagåtña, Guam) – Majority Leader and Labor Committee Chair, Senator Rory J. Respicio, met with Mr. Sherman Grandy, consul at the U.S. State Department’s American Embassy in Manila, Philippines. Mr. Grandy was accompanied by Ms. Leah Beth Nahalowaa, Director of the Guam Department of Labor.
During the courtesy visit, Respicio, Grandy and Naholowaa discussed the procedures that are in place to ensure the fair treatment and proper actions of foreign workers coming to Guam. Foreign workers should act in accordance with all laws and regulations that oversee their living and working conditions; and should also expect that their employers will do the same. According to Grandy, who is also the Fraud Prevention Manager, the Embassy performs a thorough review of each application for a worker visa, including consideration of the applicant’s qualifications, certifications, employment history, and background. In addition, the Embassy also reviews the track record of employment agencies in the Philippines and employing companies in Guam to ensure that their practices are compliant with U.S. regulations and no placement fees are being charged.
Respicio also shared with Grandy, his January 2011 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, requesting that a Labor Attaché be stationed in Guam to oversee the needs of foreign workers, the number of which is expected to increase exponentially in light of the buildup. Grandy expressed agreement with the position and offered to take the message back to the Embassy.
Discussions also touched on the issues of implementing a standard contract for Filipino workers coming to Guam, the formulation of which has been an ongoing project for Respicio; along with the issue of healthcare, and how the Guam Memorial Hospital’s mandate for care has resulted in nearly $600,000 in unpaid services for off-island hires.
This is Grandy’s first visit to Guam during his tenure at the Embassy, which began approximately five months ago. He looks forward to more visits, as he is to work in conjunction with the Guam Department of Labor and other officials, to determine what workforce needs will be required for the buildup, and how his office can best assist in filling positions that cannot be filled locally. Respicio and Naholowaa are also positive about working together to be sure that these labor issues are handled properly. “We welcome any collaboration,” said Grandy.