IPI resident director for construction Jing Zhou told the Commonwealth Casino Commission on Tuesday that their construction workforce currently consists of 201 H-2B workers from Mongolia, Turkey, Italy, Thailand and Taiwan.
Commission vice chairman Ralph S. Demapan expressed concern about the local workers who lost their jobs with IPI, which has shut down its casino since March due to the Covid-19 global pandemic.
He told Zhou and IPI Chief Executive Officer Donald Browne that they “need to look into other alternative means to help your former local workers.”
Assist them in applying for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, he added.
Commission Chairman Edward C. Deleon Guerrero asked Zhou how often he meets with the IPI human resource department. Zhou said there is no regular meeting with HR, but they meet if necessary.
For his part, Browne said, “We are in the predicament of having no money to pay people.”
He said they are aware that the U.S. Department of Labor “is not happy with us,” adding that he also knows there should be no excuse for the failure of IPI to pay its workers.
Deleon Guerrero told Browne that “as frustrated as we are, we have to keep our eyes on the ball, and the ball is IPI.”
“You have to perform,” Deleon Guerrero added. “Bad enough you are not paying the regulatory fee and as far as I am concerned all of those machines [in your casino] have expired and your licenses are expired. We are looking at that as a separate issue. So please, Mr. Browne, I hope you understand how frustrated we are,” the commission chairman said.