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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 13, 2010

StarKist lays off 600 to 800 in American Samoa

Associated Press

HONOLULU American Samoa's last remaining tuna cannery says it's cutting it's work force in the territory by another 600 to 800 people to keep up with global competition.

StarKist Co. says this will shrink its American Samoa work force to less than 1,200 employees, down from a high of more than 3,000 in 2008.

StarKist CEO Don Binotto said Thursday it's difficult to compete when workers' wages are nearly 10 times those of its competitors in Thailand and other countries.

The territory's tuna industry has been hit hard by a 2007 federal law mandating the same minimum wage laws that apply to the 50 states.

Chicken of the Sea closed its cannery in September, citing the minimum wage law. The closure coincided with the 2009 South Pacific tsunami.