StarKist Samoa working just 1 shift for 2 weeks

Things are not looking bright at StarKist Samoa, the territory’s main economic driver.

Today, the cannery will begin operating just one shift instead of its usual two shifts.  This will continue for two weeks.

The reason for the reduction, according to Vice President Michelle Faist is because of “the ongoing challenges to secure workers at the plant.”

She added that the governor and his team have been notified.

Earlier this month, the cannery was closed for one week due to what Faist said was fish shortages. She said the fish shortage was related to low headcount issues that have created a ripple effect within the StarKist Samoa operation.

KHJ News asked Faist for information regarding worker turnout last week , the response to their joint effort with the American Samoa Government (ASG) to hire foreigners with expired Immigration ID’s and how the one-shift schedule will be implemented. (Will employees take turns so that all get a partial paycheck?) Faist has not yet answered.

StarKist management and ASG leaders have said that since the receipt of stimulus checks and increased benefits as a result of COVID-19 federal funding, absenteeism has been high.

The cannery says it has been forced to siphon off some of their production off island as a result.