StarKist takes break, sends relief donation to Samoa
With the majority of its workforce from neighboring Samoa, the StarKist Samoa staff and management have put together a cyclone relief donation for the hurricane ravaged Independent State, while cannery workers take two weeks off for their annual end of the year “down time” for maintenance and service.
Mary Sestric, the StarKist Company spokesperson at headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pa, confirmed on Thursday that a donation drive was being put together to assist Samoa. Sestric said via e-mail that the local plant was “collecting voluntary [monetary] donations from employees and StarKist will match those dollars.”
She said the amount was not final as collection was being carried out through yesterday. StarKist Samoa officials on island held a news conference yesterday morning to announce their donation, but the total monetary amount to be donated was not yet finalized.
Sestric also said that StarKist is donating four pallets of tuna product to the Samoa government. This was the same information revealed by StarKist Samoa general manager Brett Butler and other company officials during yesterday’s news conference, where it was revealed that the tuna products left yesterday afternoon on the MV Lady Naomi heading back to Apia.
Butler along with SarKist Samoa manager for government relations Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona, will travel to Apia early next week to make the official presentation on behalf of StarKist Samoa and its employees, to Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
StarKist Samoa, the largest private employer in the territory, ended the year’s production yesterday and workers will return to work, on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. This is the company’s annual end-of-the-year shut down for maintenance upgrade and to make any necessary repairs prior to opening operations in the new year.
As a gift for its hard working workforce, Sestric said each employee was presented a Christmas package of three cases of wahoo.
Wahoo cases are always a sought after product because they are exported to the U.S. and are also popular as a Christmas gift.
With the two-week holiday break, many cannery workers have either left or prepared to depart for Samoa, not only to celebrate the holidays with families but to help families affected by last week’s cyclone, which sent more than 4,000 residents in the Apia area to shelters as the country began their recovery effort.
At the beginning of next year, StarKist will issue public announcements on local and Apia based broadcasters, reminding workers of the date they are to return to work. The announcements are to ensure that production resumes smoothy with a majority of workers present, or at least a majority of the production line back at work.