Archive for April, 2010

At March 31 this year, we lost another young Samsung worker, Ji-yeon Park. She had done her best to join the struggle of SHARPS despite of suffering from the cancer. The document below is Ji-yeon Park’s final statement submitted to the hearing for the Physicians Advisory Committee, which was hosted by the Cheonan branch of Korea Workers’ Compensation & Welfare Service. Ji-yeon Park showed up in person to give a personal testimony for the committee while she was struggling with blood cancer. Yet the three physicians disregarded her ardent appeal.
Her statement that she regrets her decision to work for Samsung is heartbreaking. We’ll never forget her will and hope to achieve worker’s right.
-SHARP (Supporters for Health and Right of People in semiconductor industry)
My name is Ji-yeon Park and I began to work at the On-yang factory of Samsung Semiconductor on December 27th, 2004. I worked in the department called QA group, which examines the semiconductor products and was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (M1) on September 12nd, 2007 at the age of 21 after working at the factory for two years and eight months. After five sessions of chemotherapy, I was finally able to get a bone-marrow transplant on April 29th, 2008.
Because of the complications caused by the bone-marrow transplant, I had to face several critical crises, near-death experiences, including three visits to the emergency room. I was fortunate enough to survive through the crises and now go to Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital once every two weeks for treatment as an outpatient.

I had spent several million won (tens of thousand dollars) for hospital treatment for the past year or so.  I had given up my dream of being a college student and decided to work for Samsung, a big company, in the hopes of helping out my struggling parents and family. It took only three years for my dream job to turn into a nightmare of the horrible disease, the blood cancer.

I could not believe the fact that I was diagnosed with an incurable disease, because I had always been the healthy one, quite invulnerable to seasonal flu or common cold throughout my life until high school. I truly regret my decision to work for Samsung.

The diagnosis was shocking and I was too young to accept the fact that I could die from blood cancer. Though the disease was far more than I could handle on my own, I was able to bear up against it thanks to the help of my friends and the devotion of my mother.

The line 1, where I had worked, was the part of the factory that examines the exterior, the interior (through X-Ray) and the adhesive property of the products to find defects throughout the processes including D-RAM Front, Mold, Finish, Gate, and Test.

X-Ray examination, which was the main part of my job, was the most significant part of the Mold Process. The 10-year-old X-Ray machine was obsolete and did not have a safety lock. I sometimes opened and closed the door even without knowing whether the machine was on or off when I was busy working.

In the Finish Process, I cut the lead frame, which had gone through the Plating Process, into slice, put them into Bake Oven 2HR, Steam Aging 8HR, and then soaked the product in FLUX, which is sticky yellow adhesive. This process was followed by the adhesive property test which examines the adhesive quality of plating by putting the product into the melted lead of 245°C.

In this process, I repeatedly soaked the product in the 141B chemical detergent after soldering the product and did SCOPE tests. I had headaches from inhaling the smoke from soldering. I routinely got the chemicals on my hands in the process of handling FLUX fluid and 141B fluid.

We were given cotton gloves, which could not prevent the chemicals from being soaked into the skin, and the chemicals did not wash off easily with water. Everyone including me rarely wore masks. The basic safety equipment was not provided for those whoworked in the examination process. Once, we actually had an accident where the hood that emits smoke from the solder pot was caught on fire.

I did not only lose my health but also life due to the dangerous and unsafe work environment. Now, I am barely managing to get through each day, tortured with regrets of causing my parents pain and agony.

The doctor who gave the first diagnosis of my disease had asked me whether I was handling chemicals at work. I had seen mycolleagues have miscarriages. Several months before I was diagnosed with leukemia, I often had irregular periods and blood discharge.

Though we were supposed to work in four teams in three shifts, we often had to work in two shifts and sometimes worked nights for as long as two consecutive weeks. I decided to file a WC claim on the ground that there is a correlation between my disease and the fact I had to work long hours under stress for a long time, exposed to radioactive chemicals, which caused fatigue and undermined my immune system.

I know I will have to live in anxiety and worries for the rest of my life. Doctors say that the full recovery will take at least fiveyears. Even after five years, the disease could recur, in which case my family will not be able to make a living, spending all the money my mother brings home by waiting tables at a restaurant to pay my hospital bills. I am here today to give a testimony despite my illness, because I cannot let that happen to my family.

It is my sincere wish that there will be no more victims like myself in the future. I insist that the government (Korea Workers’ Compensation and Welfare Service) must bear the responsibility of compensating my treatment costs and living expenses so that I could at least live on without worrying about money.
Thank you.
May 15, 2009

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Every word and action that calls on the Samsung corporation and Korean government to protect workers and compensate for their work-induced illnesses will give strong encouragement to the workers and hasten the day of justice for the victims!

If you also want to help, we suggest the following:

1) take a picture containing any kind of symbol of Samsung and send a protest message to either this government or Samsung.
The examples of messages are:
   “The victims must get National workers compensation as soon as possible”
   “Samsung must accept responsibility for the victims, not conceal the facts”
   “The government should not ask for evidence of work-relatedness, but give compensation to the victims”
   “Workers of Samsung, don’t wait anymore. Speak out your voices, and unite!”
   “We will remember all the victims to change Samsung, to change this world.”
There are so many symbols of Samsung around. People could take a picture of the company logo from their possessions and the street.
Among them, our recommendation is the Samsung headquarter building or their service center named “Samsung Digital Plaza”.
Once people take a picture, we will suggest them to send the picture to SHARPS or to upload the picture at our website by themselves.
We will collect all the pictures and use them for our publicity actions, for example, an exhibition at May day rally or Ji-yeon’s memorial event, or a photo stories at our blog or our news letter.

I think people can find out the logo of Samsung easily at any country. Of course it will be great If people can make a protest rally in front of Korean embassy or huge factory of Samsung, but very small symbol will be okay too. Because even only one person can participate this kind of solidarity action.

2) Make your action on May 18 – May 18th will be the 49th day from the day of Ji-yeon’s death.
There is a Korean trandition, a mixture of Buddhism and Confucianism culture, named “49-jae”, pronounced as “Sah-sip-kwo-jae”.
At the 49th day from a death, the families have a service for the repose of the dead to a better place.
People believe this service can help the dead go to the heaven not to the hell, and make “the future life” better.

SHARPS will have a memorial event for Ji-yeon at her 49-jae, in front of the Samsung headquarter building. We will pray for Ji-yeon’s peaceful rest, and for better future for all the victims – it means the future without exploitation by Capitals, without poverty, without suppression of labor right, and without toxic chemicals. It will not be religious. We just take the opportunity to let people remember what happened and to speak out our voices.

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The Central Labor Council in San Jose turned out in large numbers to hear what is going on with Samsung and how SHARPS is leading the important struggles there.  Here is a photo of some of the people there who send their solidarity to SHARPS in support of Workers Memorial Day. Watch out, Samsung! Workers throughout the US are learning of Samsung’s real face – not a responsible family -friendly corporation, but a corporation that destroys workers and families and never allows workers to form independent unions.

Labor Council of San Jose, California show solidarity to Samsung workers of Korea

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Workers Memorial Day action was organized by Worksafe in Oakland, California on April 28.  There was lots of solidarity for the Samsung campaign! Warmest thanks for the solidarity shown by Worksafe! Every action counts.

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Marking Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28, the Center for Environmental Health in the US has called for support for Samsung electronics workers who are dying of leukemia due to occupational exposure, and to add to the voices demanding that Samsung take responsibility for the workers’ health and labour rights.

They have gathered 580 signatures so far!

See their article and signatures at this link:


Warmest thanks to all the supportive brothers and sisters and CEH!

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On April 28, Korean online citizen news site OhMyNews has reported about Stop Samsung WordPress blog, the 62 signatures so far on the petition “Enough is Enough” and an interview with professor Charles Levenstein, UMass Lowell professor emeritus, co-author of “The Point of Production”, and Co-founder of ‘the International Campaign for Responsible Technology. The link to the Korean article is here:

An earlier related article in English, “Workers have the right to know”, interviewing Boston University Professor Dr. Richard Clapp is here:


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 The buzz about this book, which exploded in Korea a month or more ago, has reached the New York Times. The lawyer Kim Yong-chul who formerly worked for Samsung, has revealed alot of the corrupt practices of the corporation that he saw from the inside. So great is the power of Samsung that no newspaper dared advertise it, yet by Twitter and word of mouth on blogs, it has sold 120,000 copies so far.

Some of what the lawyer has revealed:

Mr. Kim accused Mr. Lee and his loyal aides of having stolen as much as 10 trillion won, or $9 billion, from Samsung subsidiaries and stashed it in stock and bank accounts illegally opened in the names of executives.

The book alleges that they shredded books, fabricated evidence and bribed politicians, bureaucrats, prosecutors, judges and journalists, mainly to ensure that they would not stand in the way of Mr. Lee’s illegal transfer of corporate control to his only son, Lee Jae-yong, 41.

To see the whole article, go to the New York Times website:


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To sign the petition demanding Samsung be accountable for the health and labour rights of its electronics workers:


Here are some of the Samsung petition comments:

“I will not buy Samsung products until the company takes responsibility for these deaths and provides safe working conditions for its workers”

Margaret Okuzumi, USA

There is an investment risk in Samsung from a GRI reporting perspective.  We expect Samsung to do the right thing, particularly so as not to dishonor the current Secretary General of the UN”

Klaus-Peter Finke, USA

“Do the right thing.  The world is watching”

Beth, USA

“I use a Samsung cell phone and now I am horrified to learn that the price of owning it may be associated with workers’ deaths.

Diane Heminway, USA, United Steelworkers

“It’s a disgrace that such a successful company cannot secure the safety of their workers.”

o   Subia Sinha, UK

“Samsung: world leader in corporate social irresponsibility”

o   Hilde van Regenmortel, Hong Kong

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Activists in Brussels sticker ‘Samsung = broken promises’

03 March 2010
(from Greenpeace website)

Greenpeace climbers scale the Benelux headquarters of the Korean electronic giant Samsung, displaying the message “Samsung = Broken Promises”.

© Greenpeace / Philip Reynaers / Greenpeace

Brussels, Belgium — Samsung still uses PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in all its products, except in a few models of mobile phone, MP3 players and some components, despite many promises to clean up. That’s why our activists stuck huge stickers on the Korean electronic giant’s Benelux headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday stating “Samsung = broken promises”.

All new models of Apple, Nokia and Sony Ericsson phones are PVC and BFRs (brominated flame retardants) free, and have been for over a year now. Meanwhile, Samsung — the world’s second largest mobile phone maker — has only offered up two phones which don’t contain these toxic substances (Blue Earth GT-S7550 and Reclaim M560).

A promise made in 2004

In June 2004, Samsung was the first electronics company to publicly commit to eliminate PVC and BFRs from new models of all its products. In 2006 Samsung committed to phasing our BFRs from its products by the start of 2010. In 2007 it committed to a deadline of end 2010 for the phase out of PVC. Both moves saw the company gain points and position in our influential Guide to Greener Electronics.

“Samsung’s promises are proving to be as thin as its TVs, as it loses face and ground to competitors like Apple, HP, Nokia and Sony Ericsson who have long delivered products free of these hazardous substances, proving that this can be done,” said Greenpeace Electronics campaigner Iza Kruszewska.

When a company like Samsung goes back on its commitments to clean up in the interest of the environment and public health, it erodes consumer trust in the brand. Any delay in removing hazardous substances needs to be clearly communicated with valid reasons.

Other companies ranked in the Guide to Greener Electronics have kept their promises, some even a year ahead of deadlines. In contrast, Samsung only admitted to Greenpeace weeks before it was due to deliver new greener products that it would break its promise. By this delaying tactic Samsung was able to avoid losing more points in our influential green ranking.

Samsung was penalized in the last Guide for failing to meet its deadline, and will likely be the first company to get a second penalty in the next edition of the Guide if it fails to show significant progress on toxics phase out.

For original article:


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Yongwook Kim/PM 5:45 at 2nd April 2010, Chamsesang website.

SHARPS ask Samsung to be responsible for the death in the funeral ceremony in 2nd April.

In 2nd April, there was a funeral ceremony of a female worker who died because of blood cancer developed after she worked in On-Yang city  factory in Samsung semiconductor industry. The family of Ji-yeon Park headed for a crematorium in Sung-Nam city after they finished the funeral ceremony at the Seoul St. Mary Hospital at 10:00 a.m.

Members of SHARPS (Supporters for Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor Industry) tried to march from Seoul St. Mary Hospital to the main building of Samsung after the funeral ceremony; however, it failed because police prohibited the march.

Afterward, at 12:30 p.m., members of SHARPS got together in front of the main building of Samsung and had a protesting performance for Samsung. 10 members of SHARPS tried to walk around the building of Samsung with a hand picket and a placard, but the performance was ceased because securities of Samsung prevent it. And policemen also ask the people to break up the performance twice, insisting that it is illegal.

After the performance was forced to stop by police and securities, people tried to have a press interview even without a microphone in front of the main building of Samsung at 1:00 p.m. They didn’t shout any slogan, but the police ask the people to breakup the press interview in 10 minutes and they arrested seven protesters. The arrested members of SHARPS shouted to Samsung:  “You are responsible for the death of Ji-Yeon Park.”

http://www.newscham.net/news/view.php?board=news&nid=56140 (Original Korean Article)

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