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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024


Saying the V.I. Labor Department is "falling apart," Sen. Roosevelt David agreed with a Senate colleague Friday to call a meeting to determine what's amiss.
David, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Veterans Affairs, was responding to a July 12 letter from Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg who asked that the committee investigate Labor employees’ complaints about the way the department is being managed.
While neither senator went into detail about what the problems are, Donastorg said it is important that the committee follow up on the complaints because DOL employees "have no recourse – they work for the very agency that normally handles these complaints."
David agreed, saying, "If we have a problem within Labor, who is going to solve the problem? We must, at the end of these hearings, have some solutions to these problems."
On Friday, David said he had already scheduled meetings with Labor Commissioner Sonia Jacobs Dow earlier this month but they were postponed because Dow was ill. They have been rescheduled for July and August.
David and Donastorg agreed that the Worker’s Compensation Program and Industrial Development Commission beneficiary employment practices should be investigated.
In light of recent layoffs, Donastorg requested that the committee investigate labor practices at the Virgin Islands Telephone Corp., Bluebeard’s Castle and the Westin Resort on St. John.
At the end of May, Vitelco’s parent company, Innovative Communication Corp., laid off 18 workers, with 12 coming from the phone company. In February, 10 Westin employees were laid off without being offered jobs in other departments.
Still, in a somewhat prickly response to Donastorg's request, David said he doesn’t "subscribe to the practice of the Legislature’s micro-management of executive branch departments or agencies.
"I will, however, convene the committee based on specific and corroborated instances of the mistreatment of employees and/or unsavory labor practices in the government or private sector," he said.

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