(en) Han Young: more bad signs

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Wed, 24 Dec 1997 00:01:17 -0700

A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 22:53:58 -0800 (PST) To: clr@igc.org From: Campaign for Labor Rights <clr@igc.apc.org> Subject: Han Young: more bad signs

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 Membership/newsletter. Send $35.00 to Campaign for Labor Rights, 1247 "E" Street SE, Washington, DC 20003. Sample newsletter available on request.

HAN YOUNG: MORE BAD SIGNS Tuesday, December 23, 1997

******************************** ACTION REQUESTS: see end of alert ********************************

[Information provided by staff of the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers, who ask that local activists seeking updates contact Campaign for Labor Rights: (541) 344-5410, <CLR@igc.apc.org>]

BACKGROUND: In recent months, Han Young workers have twice voted to be represented by STIMAHCS, a branch of the independent FAT labor federation. Until recently, the government-controlled CROC federation "represented" the workers. Now, Han Young management and the Mexican government want the government-controlled CTM federation to represent the workers. Han Young, located near Tijuana, produces exclusively for Hyundai Precision America, also located near Tijuana but with headquarters in San Diego. Hyundai Precision manufactures tractor trailers. It is one part of the Korean conglomerate, The Hyundai Group. The San Diego-based Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers stays in close touch with the Han Young workers and directs international solidarity efforts on their behalf.

HAN YOUNG A NO-SHOW: Yesterday (Monday, December 22), Han Young was supposed to come to the Tijuana labor board to sign the contract agreement, but Han Young management didn't show up. The labor board then wouldn't do anything to pressure Han Young to appear. This amounts to a de facto overturning of the union certification election.

EXPLANATION OF WHAT DIDN'T HAPPEN: Under Mexican law, when a union certification election results in the replacement of one union by another, the new union inherits the previous contract. Instead of bargaining over a new contract from scratch, management and the new union bargain over changes in the old contract. The signing ceremony scheduled for yesterday was to have transferred the ownership of the old contract to STIMAHCS. Without the signing-over, STIMAHCS has no legal standing to participate in new negotiations over the contract.

WHAT HAN YOUNG IS SEEKING: When Han Young management showed up at the labor board last Friday (December 19) with a busload of CTM thugs, management claimed that CTM was actually the legal bargaining agent for the workers. Technically, there would have to be an election before management or the labor board could recognize the CTM. However, in real practice, who knows what illegalities we will see from Han Young management and the Mexican government?

HYUNDAI PRESIDENT VANISHES: When Hyundai Precision America 'sPresident Ted Chung asked for a moratorium on letters to him, he promised Mary Tong of the Support Committee that she could call him "10 times a day" if she wanted to and he promised that he would check his email every day when he was out of town. Since the events on Friday morning (when Han Young management showed up at the labor board with the CTM thugs), Mary has repeatedly been trying by every way possible to reach Chung, whose office reports that he is "out of town." Chung's failure to respond to multiple messages becomes more suspect by the hour.

PRESSING FORWARD WITH NAO: The Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers is seeking to have a hearing date as soon as possible for the NAO complaint (NAFTA labor side agreement structure). There is mounting evidence that the Mexican state and federal government are illegally colluding with Han Young (and quite possibly with Hyundai Precision America) to overturn the certification of the STIMAHCS election.

HYUNDAI'S FINANCIAL TROUBLES: Hyundai Precision America is but one part of the huge Korean-based Hyundai Group. In addition to manufacturing tractor trailers, the conglomerate has other divisions for shipping, electronics, cars and more. On several fronts, the company is having financial problems due to the Asian currency crisis. According to news stories today, Hyundai Motor Company said that it has halted a $400-million joint-venture in Indonesia because of funding problems and the anticipated withdrawal of tax favor. News stories on December 20 stated that Hyundai Electronics is mothballing a $1.6 billion chip plant in Scotland, which already is $hundreds of millions into construction. Clearly, this is a company which is now vulnerable to pressure.

GOVERNMENT MIS-REPRESENTATION: According to the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers, the Mexican federal government is trying to take credit for the STIMAHCS election victory one week ago (on December 16) because the government had insisted on a new election taking place. However, the government in fact played an underhanded role in forcing the new election because government representatives knew full-well that Han Young management had for two days been offering 1,000-peso bribes to workers who would vote for CTM. The government laid a trap which did not work because, against all odds, a majority of the workers still voted for STIMAHCS. The government's mis-representation of its role could be important as each side seeks to frame the public debate which will surround new developments.

CORRECTION: In a previous alert, we listed an incorrectly computed figure for the Canadian equivalent of the bribe offered by Han Young prior to the second union election. The equivalent of 1,000 pesos is approximately $125 U.S. and $175-180 Canadian.

TIMING: The forces seeking to overturn the STIMAHCS election victory are taking advantage of holiday closures. The timing of recent Han Young actions and labor board inaction does not allow for much response until early January.

WORKER UPDATE: The illegally fired workers have received a written statement promising reinstatement and back pay from the dates of their firing. However, as of this morning, none of the workers had received any back pay.

"BOYCOTT HYUNDAI" BUMPER STICKERS: Printed in a union shop. $1.00 each or $6.00 for 10. Add $2.50 per order for shipping and handling. Labor/Community Alliance, P.O. Box 5077, Fresno, Ca 93755, (209) 226-0477, <CLR2@igc.apc.org>.

******************* ACTION REQUESTS ******************* 1) Local activists who live in or near port cities are urged to contact their local longshoremen's unions to discuss solidarity actions.

2) If you have not already sent the letter to Han Young (posted in our previous alert and updated here), please send it now. Some people are reporting that they cannot get through to this number, which we know to be correct. This probably indicates that Han Young took their fax off the hook in response to letters from solidarity activists. Please keep trying. Sample letter:

Pablo Kang, Manager Han Young de Mexico Tijuana, Mexico Fax: 011-526-680-4481

Dear Mr. Kang:

I am outraged at the blatantly illegal behavior of your company at the offices of the Tijuana labor board on December 19, in collusion with thugs acting on behalf of government-controlled unions and falsely representing themselves as Han Young workers. Then, on December 22 (when you should have signed over the contract to STIMAHCS), you failed to appear.

A majority of Han Young workers have twice voted to be represented by the STIMAHCS union. In your attempts to undermine two official union certification elections, you are acting as an outlaw company. No matter what clandestine deals are being made and no matter what payments are being passed in secret, you need to be aware that your actions are taking place on the open stage of international public opinion. International supporters of the rights of the Han Young workers intend to hold your company to account.

I demand that you fulfill your commitments and your legal obligations by recognizing STIMAHCS as the only representative of your employees and by bargaining in good faith with STIMAHCS. Justice for the Han Young workers! I will be watching your actions.


CC: Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers (619) 295-5879

__________________________ Radio4All: http://www.radio4all.org/ The A-Infos Radio Project: http://radio4all.web.net/

****** A-Infos News Service ***** News about and of interest to anarchists

Subscribe -> email MAJORDOMO@TAO.CA with the message SUBSCRIBE A-INFOS Info -> http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ Reproduce -> please include this section