Charlie the Tuna & friends turn out in force
Led by general manager Brett Butler and the management team, some 1,700 employees of StarKist Samoa Company marched yesterday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium to celebrate this year’s Flag Day in American Samoa.
A sea of colorful blue lavalavas with Samoan tapa designs, white t-shirts with the world renowned Charlie the Tuna, and their white caps with Charlie embroidered on the front, dominated the landscape of the stadium — as the largest group in this year’s parade was also led by their icon — Charlie the Tuna — who has been the StarKist cartoon mascot for its tuna brand for 51 years.
StarKist Samoa was established in American Samoa in 1963 and next year, 2013, will mark 50 years of operation for StarKist in the territory.
All departments of StarKist Samoa were represented in this year’s march, except Engineering, who reported to work yesterday for maintenance upgrades.
Company production closed Monday and yesterday to allow a majority of workers to participate in the Flag Day celebration.
At yesterday’s parade, each company department was represented by a banner and behind each banner was the Manager, Department Head, and staff — salaried and hourly___.
Behind the Engineering banner was a big sign that said, “They are all working” — preparing and refurbishing machines for production.
The largest group at StarKist Samoa is the Production department with over 1,400 employees, with department head Tavita Elisara.
StarKist Samoa — whose parent company StarKist Co. is based in Pittsburgh, Pa. — is the largest private employer in American Samoa. StarKist is owned by South Korean based Dongwon Industries.
StarKist corporate spokesperson Mary Sestric told Samoa News that top officials in Pittsburgh were not able to make the trip to Pago Pago for this year’s festivities.