Green America: Samsung Must Act to Protect Workers
New Reports of Abusive Labor Conditions Adds Urgency; Renewed Push as Petition Drive Approaches 20,000 Messages Sent.
WASHINGTON, DC – December 19, 2016– As millions of Americans look to purchase electronics for the holiday season, Green America is increasing its pressure on Samsung to improve the treatment of workers in its factories. The group is calling on Samsung to address the exposure of workers to toxins in its factories and improve working conditions overall.
Adding to the urgency, recent investigations of Samsung factories worldwide by International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), have also found widespread abusive labor conditions, including excessive hours, abuse of employees, and violations of employee rights, including the right to organize a union.
“Samsung is still second in smartphone sales in the U.S., after Apple, even after the disastrous rollout of the Note 7 phone. That means millions of Americans may purchase Samsung phones without realizing the terrible labor conditions under which these phones were manufactured,” said Todd Larsen, co-executive director on Consumer Engagement for Green America. “Without a plan to monitor and remove hazardous chemicals from Samsung factories, young workers continue to risk their lives every day, just by doing their jobs.”
Since 2007, more than 70 Samsung factory workers have died due to work-related diseases and hundreds have fallen ill, according to SHARPS, an occupational health advocacy group in South Korea. After years of protests by activists, in July 2015, Samsung finally agreed to pay victims $85.8 million in compensation.
However, Samsung has ignored the core recommendation of the mediation committee set up to address toxins in its factories: To fund an independent non-profit foundation that will determine how to fairly distribute compensation to workers for their diseases and how to develop an effective strategy for assessing and incorporating safer chemicals into production, in order to prevent future diseases. Victims have engaged in a sit-in in front of Samsung headquarters in order to get the electronics giant to protect workers from toxins and work with the Mediation Committee.
Green America’s petition, located at http://greenam.org/1hvUrGi, calls on Samsung to commit to the Mediation Process started in 2015 involving workers and families, as well as advocates. It also urges Samsung to end its practices of worker exploitation in general, including excessive hours, abuse of employees, and violations of employee rights, including the right to organize a union.
Green America’s campaign to End Smartphone Sweatshops, http://www.greenamerica.org/end-smartphone-sweatshops/, has been working for four years to get major smartphone manufacturers to remove toxins from the factories that manufacture their phones.
ABOUT GREEN AMERICA
Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems. www.GreenAmerica.org
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