(en) Hyundai hunger strike begins!!!

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Tue, 25 Nov 1997 01:59:45 -0700

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Mon, 24 Nov 1997 20:03:12 -0800 (PST) To: CLR All Campaigns e-mail list <clr@igc.org> From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Hyundai hunger strike begins!!!

Labor Alerts: a service of Campaign for Labor Rights To receive our email labor alerts, send a message to CLR@igc.apc.org Phone: (541) 344-5410 Web site: http://www.compugraph.com/clr Become a member and receive our (hard copy) newsletter. Send $35.00 to Campaign for Labor Rights, 1247 "E" Street SE, Washington, DC 20003. Sample newsletter available on request - include your postal address.

******************************************* Han Young/Hyundai Workers Begin Hunger Strike!!! *******************************************

[This alert is based on information provided by the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers, which is directing international solidarity efforts in support of the Han Young struggle. To receive a Hyundai action packet, email labor alerts or other information, contact Campaign for Labor Rights - see contact information, above.]

On Thursday, November 24 four Han Young workers began a liquid-only hunger strike to press their demand for recognition of the union of their choice. The hunger strike significantly increases the urgency surrounding this struggle.


The Han Young maquiladora (assembly factory for export) produces chassis for a Hyundai tractor trailer factory. Both of these Korean-owned operations are near Tijuana, Mexico. Because Han Young produces exclusively for Hyundai, under Mexican law Hyundai is responsible for violations of the labor code by Han Young management. Also, evidence strongly suggests that Han Young was set up by Hyundai and for all intents and purposes functions as a subsidiary.

Pay: Workers make less than $1 (U.S. equivalent) per hour. Due to the decline of the peso, their real wages are only a third of what they were four years ago. Health and safety: Workers are not provided basic safety equipment, even for arc welding. Workers suffer loss of vision, burns, poisoning from toxic fumes and broken bones.

Han Young workers have been represented by the CROC union, tied to the ruling PRI party in Mexico. Workers did not choose the CROC, do not get to vote for CROC leadership and have no say in the "protection contracts" arranged between management and the corrupt union leadership.

On October 6, in the presence of media and international observers, an overwhelming majority of workers at Han Young voted to be represented by STIMAHCS, a branch of the FAT, which is the primary independent alternative to the state-run system of phony unions.

Han Young management have fired 12 workers because of their support for the union and have clearly stated their intention to fire and replace their entire pro-union workforce. Hyundai has threatened to pull its operations from Tijuana if the independent union is recognized.

On October 25, the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers called for a boycott of Hyundai Motors, the division of Hyundai which is vulnerable to consumer pressure. Activists in more than 25 U.S. cities have organized leafleting actions at Hyundai car dealerships and other venues.

The Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers also has organized pressure on the Mexican, U.S. and Korean governments, support in the U.S. Congress and support from Korean and international labor unions.

On November 10, the Tijuana labor board, even while acknowledging that a majority of workers voted to be represented by STIMAHCS, denied certification for the union.


The November 20 beginning of the four workers' hunger strike was the lead story in all of the Tijuana media and in other parts of Mexico. Several major media outlets in the U.S. also have carried - or are planning to carry - stories on the hunger strike.

The International Metalworkers Federation (IMF), based in Europe, will be assisting the workers in filing an action before the International Labor Organization in regard to the Mexican government's violation of the convention on freedom of association. And the IMF has dispatched a representative from its Japan office to Korea, to meet with Hyundai union representatives there about supporting the Han Young struggle.

A meeting was called by the Korean House for International Solidarity, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and the Hyundai Federation of Trade Unions to discuss the urgent need for supporting the Han Young workers. The KHIS is preparing a special report and news release that they will send to Korean newspapers and weekly news magazines as well as NGOs and trade unions.

The governor of Baja California (the state where Tijuana is located) is coming under increasing pressure to support justice for the workers. It was Governor Teran Teran who fired the president of the Tijuana labor board when the board president set the October 6 date for the union certification election. Teran Teran is a member of the right-wing PAN party, not the PRI. Members of the PAN are asking Teran Teran why he is going out on a limb for a PRI-controlled "union," the CROC. In La Jornada, the Mexican national daily, there have been two opinion pieces by key advisors to the PAN, attacking Teran for his stance.

The recent financial crisis in Korea is making all sectors of the Korean economy, including Hyundai, more susceptible to pressure.


Monday, December 1 will be a national call-in day to Hyundai Motors. Call Chris Hosford, National Manager of Government Affairs and Public Relations for Hyundai Motors USA, (714) 965-3470. Emphasize that the workers will have been on an hunger strike for 12 days by that point and this is giving Hyundai an image nationwide of blatant disregard for human life. If you get a machine, please leave a message expressing your concerns. Sample message:

I am calling to express my concern about the treatment of the Han Young workers near Tijuana, Mexico. These workers receive less than $1 per hour doing dangerous work such as arc welding, for which they are not provided even the most basic safety equipment. The Mexican government and Han Young management continue to deny them the right to be represented by the union of their choice. The Han Young factory where these workers are employed produces exclusively for Hyundai. Under Mexican law, that makes Hyundai responsible for violations of these workers' rights. I intend to support a boycott of Hyundai Motors until the Han Young workers are represented by the union of their choice. I'm telling my friends and associates about the boycott of Hyundai Motors.

Hyundai spokespeople may seek to distance Hyundai Motors from the Tijuana operation, Hyundai Precision America. The following information is relevant to that issue:

The Hyundai plant near Tijuana makes tractor trailers. Hyundai Motors and the Tijuana plant are both part of the same Hyundai corporate structure. The various divisions of Hyundai work closely together in financing and other aspects of business. The president of the entire Hyundai conglomerate used to be in charge of Hyundai Precision America and was in Tijuana in recent weeks, meeting with management of Hyundai Precision America about the Han Young situation. Also, his son-in-law, Ted Chung, is the current president of Hyundai Precision America.


Saturday, December 6 will be another national day of demonstrations and leafleting outside Hyundai car dealerships. Please organize actions in your community. We especially encourage the building of local coalitions including peace & justice, labor, students and other concerned citizens. If there is a Korean American population on your campus or in your community, it would be helpful to meet with representatives of local organizations, to explain the basis for the Hyundai boycott. In all outreach, please clarify that nothing in this struggle should be construed as anti-Korean.

Concerned citizens, especially clergy and laity, might consider doing a one-day fast on December 6 in support of the Han Young hunger strikers and in coordination with local demonstrations.


1) Call your local Hyundai dealerships today. Look in the Yellow Pages under "Auto Dealers - New Cars." See the sample statement under "National Call-In Day."

2) Continue to organize leafleting at Hyundai dealerships on any dates which meet local needs. Leaflet masters are available in the Hyundai action packet. If your city has an upcoming car show, this would be an excellent venue for leafleting. You might want to call ahead to determine whether Hyundai will be an exhibitor at the show in your community. Remaining 1997 car shows:

Anaheim, CA: November 22-30; Convention Center; (800) 345-1487. Phoenix: November 26-30; Civic Plaza; (800) 345-1487. Orlando, FL: December 3-7; Convention Center; (800) 345-1487. Washington, DC: December 26-January 3; Convention Center; (301) 670-1110. Indianapolis: December 27-January 4; Convention Center; (317) 266-8455.

3) Organize a delegation of clergy and laity and progressive local business representatives (people in suits) to schedule a meeting with: the management of Hyundai dealerships and, if your city has any of these: administrative offices for any division of Hyundai, a Mexican consulate, a Korean consulate.

4) If there is a Hyundai administrative office in your city, please organize a leafleting action when employees are likely to be entering or leaving the building. It would be helpful to include in your leaflets an invitation to Hyundai employees who feel that they have been unfairly treated by the company to come forward with their stories. Give a local contact number for Hyundai employees to call.


Religious leaders and representatives of human rights groups are asked to come to Tijuana to visit the hunger strikers and then to carry their testimony back to U.S. communities. These are to be working delegations. Clergy will be meeting with their counterparts in Tijuana to urge them to contact the governor of Baja California. Catholic clergy are especially urged to come. Participants will have to pay their own transportation to and from San Diego. Costs on the ground will be negligible. If you are considering participating in such a delegation, call the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers to make arrangements: (619) 542-0826.


"Boycott Hyundai" bumper stickers!!! Printed in a union shop, with the union "bug."

$1.00 each or $6.00 for 10. Add $2.50 per order for shipping and handling. Order from:

Labor/Community Alliance P.O. Box 5077 Fresno Ca 93755

If you have questions about the bumper stickers, call (209) 226-0477 or e-mail CLR2@igc.apc.org.


Han Young management have fired 12 workers because of their union activities. The workers and their families immediately lost their medical coverage. The week before one of the workers was fired, his wife was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. She urgently needs medical care. Due to local anti-immigrant sentiment, there is little hope for her to receive pro bono health care in San Diego. The mother of two brothers who were fired needs heart surgery. If no-cost health services can be provided by a hospital in your community, please contact the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers at (619) 542-0826. __________________________ Radio4All: http://www.radio4all.org/ The A-Infos Radio Project: http://www.radio4all.org/radio http://radio4all.web.net/

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