(en) Hyundai: new developments!

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 08:39:35 -0700

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 07:12:53 -0800 (PST) To: CLR All Campaigns e-mail list <clr@igc.org> From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Hyundai: new developments!

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.

Hyundai action packets are available from Campaign for Labor Rights.

The information in this alert was provided by the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers. This alert has three parts:

1) Update: Hunger strike continues; work stoppage begins; break-in 2) The most urgent actions at this time 3) Information on "Boycott Hyundai" bumper stickers

UPDATE: Hunger strike now in 13th day! Han Young workers begin indefinite work stoppage! Break-in at UDLC office!

December 2, 1997

Forfeiting desperately needed income, workers at the Han Young maquiladora in Tijuana that produces tractor trailers for Hyundai continued their work stoppage for the second day to demonstrate their solidarity with the three ex-employees that are now in their 13th day of a hunger strike outside the state government offices in Tijuana to demand recognition of their independent union. The historic battle has received international attention for its potential to create a precedent-setting breakthrough against the system of protection contracts between employers and government-affiliated unions that has prevailed within the Mexican maquiladora industry. The fasters, Fernando Flores Cruz, Miguel Sanchez Murillo and Armando Hernandez Roman, were illegally fired because of their union affiliation and have cases for reinstatement pending. Four workers began the fast November 20 to protest the Mexican government's denial of union certification despite an overwhelming majority vote in favor of the independent union October 6, but Miguel Angel Meza was forced to quit after 6 days when he was hospitalized with anemia and dehydration.

Yesterday, the offices of Union de Defensa Laboral Comunitaria (UDLC), which has coordinated local support for the workers in Tijuana, were broken into and legal papers, membership rosters, computer disks and the fax machine were stolen. UDLC coordinator Enrique Hernandez Felix believes that break-in was the work of government agents because the computer was not touched, but all the papers and files in the office had been rifled.

The Han Young workers struggle became a focal point in Congressional debate on Fast Track when Democratic Whip David Bonior met with Han Young workers and declared that their situation exemplified the failure of NAFTA's labor side accords to protect workers against governmental violations of their right to organize. It also was the subject of political scandal in Mexico as the Baja California governor's intervention was decried improper by many, including key national advisors to his own party, the PAN. One business day before the election, Governor Teran Teran, at the request of the government-affiliated union CROC, demanded the resignation of Labor Board President Antonio Ortiz for setting an election day as required by law. The watchword to the President according to inside sources at the Labor Board was to delay a decision, giving the company time to replace union supporters with workers transported from southern Mexico.

The Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers (SCMW), which has been coordinating cross-border support for the workers since April, filed a complaint with the National Administrative Office (NAO), established under the Department of Labor through the labor side accords on NAFTA, charging that the Mexican government and labor authorities have engaged in a pattern of defying their own labor law in collusion with transnational corporations. The complaint, which was accepted for investigation, was jointly filed by the SCMW and the International Labor Rights Fund, National Association of Democratic Attorneys in Mexico and the Mexican Union of Metal, Steel, Iron and Allied Workers. An appeal of the Labor Board's decision has been filed with the Federal Circuit Court in Baja California. Meanwhile, the company is threatening to fire and replace all workers who voted for the independent union in the October 6 election.

The Support Committee in cooperation with Campaign for Labor Rights is coordinating a boycott of Hyundai Motors that has involved demonstrations in over 25 cities nationwide. The aim is to pressure the company to halt its illegal firings and repression against the union effort.

URGENT ACTIONS: National day of action on Saturday, December 6 One-day solidarity fasts Letters to Hyundai Motors Delegations

1) National Day of Action on Saturday, December 6: Saturday, December 6 will be a national day of demonstrations and leafleting outside Hyundai car dealerships. Please organize actions in your community. Please notify Campaign for Labor Rights of plans for actions and please let us know how the demonstrations went: CLR@igc.apc.org or (541) 344-5410.

2) One-Day Solidarity Fasts: Concerned citizens, especially clergy and laity, are urged to conduct a one-day fast on December 6 in support of the Han Young hunger strikers and in coordination with local demonstrations. Local organizers: Please send out press releases if there will be a solidarity fast in your community and please notify Campaign for Labor Rights, also.

3) Letters to Hyundai Motors: Sample letter


Mong-Gyu Chung Chairman Hyundai Motors 140-2, Kye-Dong, Chonro-Ku, Seoul, Korea

By fax: via North American headquarters: 1-714-965-3149

Dear Mr. Mong-Gyu Chung,

Three workers who were illegally fired from the Han Young maquiladora near Tijuana have placed their lives on the line, as they continue a protest fast which they have now maintained for two weeks. (A fourth hunger striker was taken to the hospital after 6 days.) Their co-workers are now engaged in an indefinite work stoppage in solidarity with the hunger strikers.

As you are well aware by now, the key demand of these workers is that they be represented by the union of their choice. It has been well-documented that the Han Young workers voted overwhelmingly for an independent union on October 6. The corrupt Tijuana labor board, in collusion with Han Young and Hyundai Precision America management, has nullified the results of that election.

The world knows that Han Young is an agent of Hyundai and that Hyundai is morally and legally responsible for violations of the Han Young workers' rights, as well as for violations of Mexican labor law.

I and many thousands of others are watching the Han Young situation closely. If any permanent damage should happen to the health of any of the hunger strikers, there would be a corresponding injury to the reputation of Hyundai Motors. It would be many years before the damage to your company's reputation could be undone. Already, the failure of Hyundai to respect the rights of the Han Young workers has created a reservoir of ill will which affects all divisions of Hyundai - most especially Hyundai Motors. Previous communications have alerted you to the boycott of Hyundai Motors.

I ask you, as a man of conscience and as judicious business person, to act decisively in averting a tragedy. Bend every effort to see to it that the government of Mexico recognizes the right of the Han Young workers to be represented by the union of their choice, and make Hyundai world headquarters aware of the gravity of this situation..


CC: Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers 3909 Centre Street, #210 San Diego, CA 92103 fax: 1-619-295-5879

4) Delegations Clergy and laity and representatives of human rights organizations are particularly requested to consider coming to Tijuana in small delegations to visit the hunger strikers and to seek dialogue with Mexican officials and religious leaders. These will be working trips. Participants should consider themselves committed to bearing witness back in their home communities to the testimony of the hunger strikers. Air fare to and from San Diego is the responsibility of participants. Costs on the ground will be minimal. For arrangements, contact Mary Tong, Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers, (619) 542-0826.

The hunger strikers have extended a special invitation to any concerned U.S. citizens to visit them on Saturday, December 6.


"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.

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