The Guardian of the UK says Samsung TVs appear to cheat EU energy efficiency tests. Source: Guardian Website capture

The Guardian of the UK says Samsung TVs appear to cheat EU energy efficiency tests. Source: Guardian Website capture

Some Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. TVs appear to consume more energy during real-world use than during official lab testing conditions, The Guardian of the UK reported Oct. 1, citing independent tests.

Official Tests vs. Real World 

According to Samsung, the so-called “motion lighting” feature of its TVs reduces power consumption by reducing screen brightness in response to types of content.  However, the feature only appears to function under official test conditions.

The Letter and Spirit of The Law

“The lab studies found that Samsung’s ‘motion lighting’ feature reduced the TV sets’ brightness – and power consumption – under international electrotechnical commission (IEC) test conditions, the paper said.  “But under real-world viewing conditions, no reductions in power consumption were registered, making the sets’ power consumption, fuel bills and carbon emissions correspondingly higher.”

“Samsung is meeting the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law,” The Guardian quoted Rudolf Heinz, a project manager with ComplianTV, as saying.

Samsung’s Volkswagen Moment?

“The apparent discrepancy between real-world and test performance of the TVs is reminiscent of the VW scandal that originated in the US last week,”. The Guardian added.

Samsung has denied it is cheating EU compliance tests, claiming that the “motion-lightning” software is a standard “out-of-the-box” feature used on all its TVs.  “Motion lighting is not a setting that only activates during compliance testing. On the contrary, it is a default setting which works both in the lab and at home; delivering energy savings and helping us to reduce our environmental impact,” the company said in a blog post.

SHARPS's eight-year advocacy campaign has entered into a new stage as Samsung attempts to compensate occupational disease victims on its own divisive terms. Source: The Huffington Post Korea

SHARPS’s eight-year advocacy campaign has entered into a new stage as Samsung attempts to compensate occupational disease victims on its own divisive terms. Source: The Huffington Post Korea

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has launched a website for individual occupational-disease victims seeking compensation from the company, hammering a nail in the coffin of prospects for sufficient payouts for the company’s victims, and for publicly verifiable safety measures to keep future tragedies from happening.


“Compensation will be made based on principles and criteria little changed from the recommendations made by the Mediation Committee July 23,” Samsung said Sept 18 in a press release announcing the website’s launch.  However, nothing can be further from the truth.  Here are the details of Samsung’s scheme:

  • Samsung is accepting petitions for compensation only by year-end, preempting future victims who would be diagnosed with an occupational disease after a lengthy latency period;
  • Samsung employees who departed from the company before Jan. 1, 1996 are not eligible to compensation although they more likely worked under more hazardous working conditions;
  • Samsung narrowly and vaguely defines “eligible contract workers” as ones “regularly doing certain particular jobs as part of regular contractors in residence,” making it possible for it to arbitrarily deny compensation;
  • Samsung ditches a recommendation by the Mediation Committee by not compensating for miscarriages or infertility—despite the facts that: 1) it is widely confirmed in many studies that working in semiconductor labs would increase the possibility of such abnormalities; and 2) the company says it will compensate victims even when there is no clear causal link between their diseases and working conditions.
  • Samsung reduces the eligible latency period for breast cancer, brain tumors, leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myelomatosis to ten years from the Mediation Committee’s recommended fourteen years;
  • Samsung pays compensation after deducting any form of payout made to the victim related to his occupational disease such as post-employment medical and funeral subsidies; and
  • All in all, Samsung’s scheme lacks transparency and accountability in determining payouts.


With the compensation scheme, Samsung believes it can deal a blow to the eight-year campaign by SHARPS for the occupational disease victims.  Five of the six families of the Settlement Committee, a group split from SHARPS on Aug. 14, have agreed to the compensation scheme.  Some of these families have begun to contact other victim families, most of whom in dire economic need, to bring them into the scheme.

As of date, SHARPS has profiled 293 former Samsung workers who contracted some form of blood disorder. One hundred and six of them are now dead.

Lee Jae-yong (middle), the only son of a bedridden Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, effectively controls the company but has yet to seat on the board of directors at the company. His business school peer, Paul Jobin, now a professor in France, asks him to sincerely negotiate with SHARPS. Source: SamsungTomorrow.com

Samsung Chairman Lee Jae-yong (middle), the only son of a bedridden Chairman Lee Kun-hee, effectively controls the company but has yet to seat on the board of directors. His MBA peer, Paul Jobin, now a professor in France, asks him to sincerely negotiate with SHARPS.  Source: SamsungTomorrow.com

A French scholar who took an MBA course about 20 years ago in Japan with Lee Jae-yong (also known as “Jay)”, vice chairman and the heir apparent of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., urged Mr. Lee to negotiate with victims of the company’s occupational disease cluster.

In an open letter posted on Facebook Sept. 14Paul Jobin, associate professor of East Asian Studies at Paris Diderot University in France, and Mr. Lee’s former peer at Keio Business School in Japan, demanded sincerity and transparency in Samsung’s dialogue with SHARPS, saying, “I hope you can resume as soon as possible the social dialogue with Sharps, which is representing more than 200 victims from your company, and I wish this dialogue will be sincere and transparent.”

Heir Apparent Without Accountability

Prof. Jobin’s open plea came at an appropriate time. Jae-yong, the only son of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, has been gradually assuming control over the world’s largest technology company from his bedridden father.  Lee the younger has been part of Samsung’s top management since 2011 when he was named Vice President, Corporate Planning and a year later took the vice chairman position.

Chairman and Vice Chairman 

The titles of chairman and vice chairman are misnomers outside of a Korean context because neither Chairman Lee nor Vice Chairman Jae-yong  is a member of the board of directors at Samsung.  The patriarch and his son are chairman and vice chairman of the company, not its board.

By taking these once-titular, obsolete roles, the Lees control Samsung, a public company with U$199.4 billion in market value, and exempt them from fiduciary duties and public accountability.  This surely explains why it was not Messrs. Lee, but Kwon Oh-hyun, who at best nominally runs Samsung as CEO and as a director, made an apology last year to victims of the occupational disease cluster.  It also at least partly explains why Samsung continues to flip-flop in its negotiations with the families and SHARPS.

At the press conference Sept. 7 by SHARPS some victim families called on Vice Chairman Lee to make an apology and negotiate with SHARPS. <Korean>

Paul Jabin, associate professor at the department of East Asian Studies of Paris Diderot University, France. Source: Academia.com

Paul Jobin, associate professor at the department of East Asian Studies of Paris Diderot University, France.  Source: Academia.com

The following is a full text of Prof. Jobin’s open letter to Vice Chairman Lee:

An open letter to Lee Jae-yong, Vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics

By Paul Jobin, his former classmate at Keio University and currently Associate Professor at the Department of East Asian Studies of Paris Diderot University, France.  paul.jobin@univ-paris-diderot.fr

Dear Jae-yong[1]

Even though twenty years have passed since we were classmates at Keio University (in the MBA program of the Keio Business School), I remember quite well that you prepared carefully every case study, checking the dictionary when you had some doubt on a Japanese word. During class discussions, your comments were clear, direct, frank and most often, brilliant. In addition you were also kind, fair and easy-going.

I remember once at the library, as we were chatting, I told you that I had to prepare an application for a scholarship, and I asked if you were also thinking of applying for one. You smiled and you answered evasively meaning that you did not need it. Later when I mentioned this to another classmate, he laughed at me: “How could you not know that Jae-yong is the son of Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung, and a possible heir of that empire!” Well, indeed, this shows how ignorant I was! But it reminds me also that you did not make a fuss of who you were. You were not just “the son of,” you had already a strong personality and you deserve your brilliant career at Samsung Electronics. Today, I am proud to have been your classmate, and I am sure our former teachers at Keio and our “M16” classmates must share the same feeling.

However there is something that I am less proud of. It is seeing the media reports about your company’s response to the employees who became sick with leukemia and other occupational illnesses, and to the families of those who have died at such an early age.  It makes my heart break and I wonder if you share this reaction.

Once, at Keio, in the class of business strategy, we were discussing the case of the Morinaga arsenic milk poisoning incident. Do you remember? Professor Furukawa showed us some dramatic visuals of children bodies harmed by the poison. Yet, we couldn’t help but smile at the embarrassment of our classmate who was employed by Morinaga company, when the professor asked him to provide a fair and ethical solution to that dramatic case.

That class session left a very strong impression on me. Later for my PhD dissertation I focused on the case of Chisso Chemical Company and Minamata disease, another dramatic case of industrial disease. I am much less familiar with the history of the dispute with former workers at Samsung Electronics, but from what I have been able to read in English, it seems to me that today your company could be facing a crisis that holds many similarities with those of Morinaga or Chisso.

In Taiwan, I have also been observing the lawsuit against RCA, another electronic company, and its parents firms the American General Electric and the French Technicolor (alias Thomson Electronics), sued by a group of 529 former workers who have developed various forms of cancer, miscarriages and other health problems. Though the causality is more complicated compared to the case of Samsung, in April this year, the district court of Taipei acknowledged that their health problems resulted from their occupational exposure to organic solvents and other toxicants. The lawsuit will continue at the court of appeal, with another group of more than 940 plaintiffs. This is the sort of mass toxic tort that not only costs the defendant company a lot of money in attorneys fees and due compensation, but worse than that, it generates a very bad publicity for the company brand at a global stage.  I’m concerned that Samsung’s actions are continuing to tarnish the reputation of the company around the world.

Earlier this year, Samsung Electronics provided hope to the victims by accepting direct negotiations. However the recent responses by Samsung to these negotiations seem to show a lack of fairness from the company side. I hope you can resume as soon as possible the social dialogue with Sharps, which is representing more than 200 victims from your company, and I wish this dialogue will be sincere and transparent. As you know, the dispute at Samsung Electronics with the victims of leukemia and other occupational illnesses has already been widely reported around the world. If a class-action were to start at court, I am afraid it would further damage the company’s brand.

I am sure you are keenly aware of these considerations of “business strategy.” Most of all, I wanted to remind you about the class discussion we had long time ago about the Morinaga case, and what Professor Furukawa recommended that we think about in terms of fair and ethical response. Furthermore, I don’t know to what extent, as a vice-chairman of the company, you can directly step in to these negotiations, but I believe that you — who had such a fair, smart and kind spirit in your youth — could help bringing a fair and ethical solution to the victims.

I will pray for you and them for this to happen.

Yours, sincerely,

Paul Jobin

[1]  If I may call you so, as we haven’t met for years, but if I remember well, at KBS, we used to call each other by our First names when speaking in English, and our family names when in Japanese. I wish I could have found your personal email address, but I could not, so I hope you won’t mind this open letter.


Kim Mi-seon, a former Samsung LCD worker suffering with multiple sclerosis, was among the 55 Samsung workers and their families who attended the press conference on Sept. 7.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has effectively walked away from negotiations with SHARPS and other families of the victims of its blood disorder cluster by forming an ad hoc vehicle focused solely on compensation.  The latest move by the world’s largest technology company appears to be an attempt at paying the victims off on its own terms, and at frustrating the three goals of SHARPS–to have Samsung apologize to victims, to compensate them and to have publicly verifiable prophylactic measures in place.

Compensation minus Prevention

On Sept. 3, Samsung said it has launched a Compensation Committee in what it said is to promptly compensate blood-disorder stricken employees and their families.  In appearance, the news seems to be an extension of an earlier announcement of Aug. 3, in which it said it would create a KRW100 billion (U$85.8 million) fund for current and future victims.

However, the two announcements marked yet another nadir of Samsung’s credibility. Indeed, over the two years of negotiations, the company has deflected the advocates’ and victims’ demands piecemeal, steadily draining already strained financial and political resources of SHARPS and allies.

Split and Mediation

Premeditated or not, Samsung’s maneuvering was possible in part because after eight years of lone and hard-fought campaigning against the country’s mightiest corporate giant, SHARPS was fractured by a split.  In August 2014, about a year into its first negotiations with Samsung, six of the eight families of the cluster victims SHARPS represented broke out and formed a separate negotiating bloc, the Family Settlement Committee—a sign that some families would like to prioritize compensation over demand for an apology and independently confirmed preventive measures.

In Sept. 2014, Samsung and the Family Settlement Committee agreed to a Mediation Committee, an independent arbitration body to investigate all parties’ concerns to make recommendations for settlement.  In December 2014, at the urging of Samsung and the new negotiating bloc, SHARPS endorsed the Mediation Committee and cooperated with its activity.

Mediation Committee

On July 23, the Mediation Committee, chaired by retired Supreme Court justice Kim Ji-hyung, announced a set of recommendations.  The highlights included:

  • Samsung should donate KRW 100 billion (U$85.8 million) to forming an independent entity to compensate the victims and to work as an “ombudsman” for Samsung’s workplace safety practices.
  • The entity should categorize 12 occupational diseases into three types to compensate the victims depending on the level of causality between the victim’s working conditions and contraction of the disease.

As it attempted to walk the fine line between the advocates’ and the corporation’s needs, the committee made mixed recommendations.  It urged Samsung to compensate all victims, employed full-time or not. However, the committee fell short of requesting a publicly verifiable worker safety measures, instead recommending an independent grievance procedure.

While South Korean media touted the recommended three categories as comprehensive, the suggested payout for the categories will be likely much lower than even the country’s hard-to-get and parsimonious workers compensation.

The suggested payout scale hit some victim families hard because they exhausted legal recourse.  Both SHARPS and the Family Settlement Committee sought for revisions in the recommendations to finalize a deal.

And on Aug. 3, Samsung abruptly said it would launch the KRW 100 billion fund and reject the recommendation for an ombudsman.  With the Compensation Committee, Samsung effectively ended the mediation structure and the negotiations.

Bait and Switch

What is so stark by their absence in Samsung’s Compensation Committee are the criteria for compensation.  The company has yet to say if it will use the three categories suggested by the Mediation Committee or comes up with its own.  It said little about how much it would compensate the victims.  However, according to a Sept 9 expose report by the independent daily Hankyoreh <Korean>, Samsung unsuccessfully attempted to retain the Korean Society of Occupational and Environment Medicine to re-evaluate the three categories.

The bait and switch continues.  According to a report by Ohmynews.com, an independent online news site <Korean>, Samsung has brought Park Sang-hoon, a lawyer for the Family Settlement Committee onto its committee without the consent of the families.

Also, the Compensation Committee includes Prof. Won Jong-uk, of Yonsei University, who submitted a pro-Samsung expert opinion in ongoing posthumous workers compensation proceedings for Lee Eun-ju, a Samsung worker of six years who died of ovarian cancer at the age of 36 in 2012, after 12 years of suffering.<Korean>

On Sept. 7, SHARPS and 55 victim families held a press conference at the Samsung headquarters.  The following is a full English translation of the statement announced at the conference.  The translation is almost entirely verbatim and all brackets ([  ]) are added by the translator.

On Samsung’s announcement of the formation of a compensation commission

To Express Anger Over Samsung’s Insolence and Deception

On Sept. 3, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. announced formation of a “Compensation Committee” and its five members. The committee is said to set to determine recipients of the compensation [from among Samsung’s occupational-disease victims] and procedures

With that announcement, Samsung has shredded its own promise to resolve the issue of the occupational disease cluster through a dialogue with society.  It revealed that the company has neither will nor competence to address it.  It has scorned and deceived the occupational disease victims [of its own factories] and indeed society itself.

  1. Samsung has been trampling on not only the principles of social dialogue but also its own promise

It was Samsung that proposed the current negotiations with SHARPS in Jan. 2013.  It was also Samsung that proposed and almost pushed through a mediation process in Oct. 2014 when the Family Settlement Committee embraced the proposal.  However, Samsung is now railroading through its own compensation framework, running counter to recommendations by the Mediation Committee.

The Compensation Committee” is the framework that Samsung has been insisting upon since a public apology by Samsung Vice Chairman and CEO Kwon Oh-hyun [in May 2014 to occupational disease victims and their families].  Samsung’ Compensation Committee may only appear to be an external organization in appearance, but in essence, it is an instrument to recast the issue of compensation in Samsung’s terms.  Since early stages of the negotiations, SHARPS has raised concerns that such opaque organization cannot be used to address the issue of [Samsung’s] occupational disease.  In its proposal, fine-tuned by Samsung’s own negotiators and the victims’ families and reviewed by experts, the Mediation Committee recommended a public entity be formed independently of Samsung [to preside over compensation.]  Public health and law professionals at home and abroad have since asked Samsung to comply with the recommendations.

However, Samsung did not follow any of these recommendations and pleas and instead unilaterally formed the Compensation Committee.  In so doing, Samsung flouted the fundamental principles of social dialogue and renounced what is left of the dignity it would have retained as initiator of the negotiations.  Its shamelessness and impudence is only infuriating us.

  1. What the Compensation Committee Represents

Samsung said lawyer Park Sang-hoon would sit on the committee on behalf of the Family Settlement Committee.  However, some members of the settlement committee immediately said Park’s presence on the committee had never been agreed to. If Samsung’s ignored these families’ opposition and appointed Park to the Compensation Committee, this would be an unacceptably despicable maneuver.

Even if the settlement committee agreed to Park’s seat, he would only be able to represent the six families of the settlement committee.  To date, a total of 217 occupational disease victims and patients have reported to SHARPS from Samsung’s semiconductor and LCD units.  Minus the six families of the settlement committee, the number still stands at 211.  And SHARPS is assisting 50 of the 217 in their workers compensation petitions and related litigation cases.  How can it be said that Mr. Park can represent all these victims who are duly entitled to compensation and apology [from Samsung]?

What is worse, the way Samsung has seated the four Compensation Committee members is so imperious that it is just astounding.  Why and how are these four individuals authoritative experts, as Samsung claims them to be?  We have no idea what they have done to confront the issues over the past eight years [since SHARPS was formed].  One member, and only one member, is familiar to us:  Prof. Won Jong-uk of Yonsei University.  This is because Dr. Won presented an expert opinion as a consultant for Korea Workers Compensation & Welfare Service, claiming that there was no link between a deceased Samsung worker and her working conditions.

  1. Samsung exposed the lack of a will and competence to address the issue of occupational disease.

“In a proposal in Jan. 2015 for the Mediation Committee, Samsung said, “any efforts for the safety and health of workers cannot be excessive.”  It went on saying, “we will implement the process and methods that can make sense to anyone.”  It also made several pledges including random inspections of all chemical materials, an immediate ban of certain hazardous materials and others.  Samsung also said, “We express our sincere apology to those who are suffering from and who died of what is suspected of an occupational disease and their families.”

Then, even before a mediation proposal comes out, in April 2015, Samsung abruptly proposed negotiations on prophylactic measures be postponed.  In August when negotiations had to be initiated over the Mediation Committee proposal, the company said the mediation process should be on hold, and the Mediation Committee adjusted the timeframe accordingly.  Suddenly and one-sidedly, Samsung announced formation of the Compensation Committee, minus preventive measures in toto.

Given this maneuvering, who can expect Samsung will in good faith implement the mediation process?

We ask Samsung:  Do you have a will to have a dialogue on an apology and preventive measures?  Do you have smatterings of social responsibility, or the competence to implement corporate social responsibilities?

  1. Samsung Derides The Human Rights of Its Occupational Disease Victims and Deceives Society

Most of all, the biggest problem with Samsung’s announcement is that it derided occupational disease victims and deceived members of civil society who work hard to solve status quo.

Is this Samsung’s ultimate purpose of the proposal for dialogue it made three years ago?  In its own official blog post of Oct. 21, 2014, Samsung urged SHARPS to participate in the Mediation Committee, and to negotiate with sincerity and transparency.  Is this your way of achieving sincerity and transparency?  In another post, the company said, “We will do our best before the Mediation Committee to complete an amicable mediation process.”  Is this Samsung’s best?

Its effrontery to make an about-face to dodge corporate social responsibility, its arrogance and arbitrariness to solve the disaster of its own making, its deception of bereaved families of victims sacrificed for its pursuit of profit—are these are the vision an ambitions of the so-called Lee Jae-yong managerial regime? Is he intent on inheriting not only money and power but an anti-social, anti-human rights corporation?

SHARPS, the advocate of eight years campaigning for the rightful solution to Samsung’s occupational disease issue, and families of 54 Samsung workers who fell victim to the cluster are demanding Samsung the following:  an apology for the Compensation Committee and an explanation.

Victims’ family members speak out at the press conference <Korean>

Correction 1.  The following paragraph is removed from the original version of this posting: “Also, the recommended three categories were comprehensive enough, but the suggested payouts for two of the categories were much lower than even the country’s hard-to-get and parsimonious workers compensation.”

And it is replaced with the following new paragraph: “While South Korean media touted the recommended three categories as comprehensive, the suggested payouts for the categories will be likely much lower than even the country’s hard-to-get and parsimonious workers compensation.”

Correction 2. The following paragraph is removed from the original version of this posting:  “Also, the Compensation Committee includes Prof. Won Jong-uk, of Yonsei University, who for years submitted pro-Samsung expert opinions in workers compensation proceedings.”

And it is replaced with the following new paragraph:  “Also, the Compensation Committee includes Prof. Won Jong-uk, of Yonsei University, who submitted a pro-Samsung expert opinion in ongoing posthumous workers compensation proceedings for Lee Eun-ju, a Samsung worker of six years who died of ovarian cancer at the age of 36 in 2012, after 12 years of suffering.<Korean>”       



Hankyoreh21, a weekly magazine of South Korea, analyzed the compensation standards that Samsung had proposed in the mediation process to address workers’ death and health problems. 

According to Hankyoreh21’s analysis, only 14 people (8.5%) of the 163 victims absolutely met Samsung’s compensation standards. If a variety of provisory clauses that Samsung presented is applied, 107 people (65.7%) are automatically excluded from compensation. 

We translated the article into English under the consent of Hankyoreh21. You can read the full version of translation below, and the original article in Korean can be read at here.

Continue Reading »


On May 28, an eight-member delegation of SHARPS, led by Hwang Sang-ki, father of a Samsung leukemia victim, met with a new delegation of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.  Continue Reading »

ImageYeom Ho-seok, 34-year-old unionist, committed suicide after months of emotional and financial hardships following his unionization efforts. One of his selfies has now become his funeral portrait.

South Korean police have seized and effectively hid the body of a Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. contractor who committed suicide after about eight months of financial and emotional hardships he suffered for representing his union local—a sign that the world’s largest technology company still has yet to address a mountain of thorny labor issues even after its recent promise to pay due compensation to victims of its leukemia cluster.

Teargas In The Morgue

On the evening of May 18, about 400 police raided the morgue of Seoul Medical Center and seized the body of Yeom Ho-seok, the Samsung Electronics Service union representative who committed suicide two days earlier.  After two hours of a standoff with some 100 unionists surrounding the building, the police arrested twenty-four and used tear gas to disperse the protestors and seize the body.

The Third Death

On May 17, a day after his suicide, Yeom’s body was found in his car, with two handwritten notes, one for his parents and one for the union, and burnt charcoal.  Since August of last year when the 34-year-old local convener helped form a local of the Samsung Electronics Service union in the metropolitan area of Busan-Yangsan, management had substantially reduced assignments for him, who, on a contract basis, did on-site repairs of a variety of Samsung home appliances.  Over the past eight months, Yeom took home about U$400 a month while working for the world’s largest technology company in a country with a median annual wage of U$37,000.

Yeom’s death is the third, and the second by suicide, at Samsung Electronics Service, the corporate giant’s outsourcing network for after-sale maintenance and repair of 107 regional contractors with about 6,000 temporary workers.  In October 2013, Yim Hyeon-woo died of an overwork-caused brain hemorrhage.  A month later, Choi Jong-beom committed suicide, devastated by stepped-up discipline and substantial cuts in job assignments after he helped form a nationwide union.

Outlandish Police Response

In one of his notes, Yeom requested his body “remain in state until his local wins [recognition].”  Yeom’s father at first permitted–with a written note–the union to proceed with the funeral process.  However, according to the police, he called the police emergency line to ask the government to claim Yeom’s body which he reported the union kept against his and his family’s will—despite the fact that Yeon’s birth mother protested the police when they seized the body.  A mobilization of 400 police was an outlandish police response over a dubious dispute over one dead body in a quiet morgue.


 About 400 riot police scuffled with about 100 unionists for two hours to snatch Yeom’s body.


The police did not place the body in a Busan mortuary where they said it would be stored.  Samsung Electronics Service unionists found that a number of crematory and mortuary spots in the Busan area were booked under Yeom’s name.  On May 20, Yeom’s body was said to be cremated in a crematory far outside Busan.  His father remained out of contact.


Following Yeom’s death, as many as 700 Samsung Electronics Service unionists encamped at the Samsung Electronics corporate headquarters in southern Seoul, calling for union recognition and full-time employment status.




The following are full translations of Yeom’s notes.  All brackets [ ] are added.

Note 1.

To My Local Unionists,

I am in Jeongdoingjin [famous for its scenic sunrise].  This is where the sun rises.  I chose here because I believe our local will not lose its light and will win just as the sun will rise again tomorrow.

I really thank comrades of the Busan-Yangsan local and across the nation for caring for  and showing their concern for me like I was their own brother.  It was a great joy for me, a nobody, to stay with them.  Because I can no longer sit by as more sacrifices and more pain are wrought upon our unionists and because I can no longer sit by their hardships, I am dedicating myself.

I wish our local victory on [my sacrifice]. If you find my body, please put it in state until our local wins [recognition].  After triumph, please scatter my cremated ashes here [in Jeongdoingjin].


One last thing.  The father of one of our local unionists is still in hospital.  Hospital bills have become mountainous.  Please help him with the bills when negotiations ended [successfully with management].

Note 2.

Dear Father and Mother,

I am sorry that this is the first and the last time I write to you.  I always want to be the son of whom you are proud, but I always make you worry—and I am now about to hurt you deeply in your hearts.  Your son is making a difficult decision, but not a bad one.  I believe this decision to be right as long as my sacrifice can help better the lives of all Korean workers.  I am sorry to leave this note, even without calling you.

There is one favor I need to ask of you.  Please hold a funeral only after a good result comes to my local of the Samsung Electronics Services union.  Please scatter my ashes here in Jeongdoingjin where the sun rises.


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