Archive for October, 2010

Korean electronics workers fight for their health

Dr. Jeong-ok Kong MD, MS has been a leading figure among Korean
occupational health professionals involved in numerous research projects
and campaigns with labor unions and grassroots organizations of workers.
These projects have ranged from work on musculoskeletal disorders, to job
stress-related physical and mental health problems, to chemical exposures.
Dr. Kong currently works as a fulltime activist with the Korean Institute of
Labor Safety and Health, (KILSH), whose activities center on workplace-
oriented action, and the development of worker expertise and leadership.
Dr. Kong is the recipient of the 2010 International Health & Safety Award
from the Occupational Health Section of the American Public Health
Dr. Kong’s talk will focus on the most recent struggle by cancer victims of
Samsung semiconductor plants.  This international campaign, coordinated
by SHARPS (Supporters of Health And Right of People in Semiconductor
Industry), aims to draw attention to and prevent cancer and other diseases
among young workers in Samsung plants in Korea.
Monday, November 15
UCSF School of Nursing, 5th Floor, Room N-517
Tuesday, November 16
12 noon
(arrive early to go through building security)
Oakland State Office Building
1515 Clay Street, Room 15 (Second Floor), Oakland, CA
5:30 pm
1919 Addison Street, Suite 204, Berkeley, CA
For more information, contact:
Garrett Brown, 510-558-1014, garrettdbrown@comcast.net
For information on events in the South Bay with Dr. Kong, contact:
Ted Smith, 408-242-6707, tsmith@igc.org
Sponsoring organizations include:
Hesperian • Maquiladora Health and Safety Support Network • UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program
UC Center for Occupational and Environmental Health • UCSF Occupational and Environmental Medicine
UCSF Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing

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On October 12, SHARPS held a protest ‘die-in’ action in front of KINTEX where the huge international semiconductor & electronics exhibitions (http://sedex.org/2010eng/html/index.php) are held.

We want to let the people who attend the big industrial festival which has the slogan  “IT’s my life!” that IT actually broke life of many workers.

Up to date, SHARPS has found about 100 occupational disease victims in Samsung electronics and electro-mechanics company.

Among these, more than thirty workers lost their life in young age.

The brief list of those workers is included in our press release material.

Below is the press release information:


Stop the festival!

Stop the severe reality of workers in world electronic industry!

Stop the vicious cycle of tragedy in the electronic industry!

It was March 31, 2010 when Ms. Park Ji-yeon passed away. She joined Samsung Semiconductor to work with them in On-Yang plant when she was a still high school student. It was 2004. Then, since 2007, in which she got Leukemia, she had suffered from it only to be dead in the day.

The workers of Samsung semiconductorhas been fighting Leukemia or died.

However, Jiyeon is not the only victim that worked with Samsung semiconductor and got a serious disease when too young to get unhealthy or even to die; Hwang, Yu-mi died March 6, 2007 and she was only 22 years old at that time. Hwang Min-woong, who is another example, died 2005 when his age was only 31. Kim Kyung-mi was dead when only 30 years had passed since she was born. They were dead due to lymphatic and hematopoietic tissues cancers, one instance of which is Leukemia. Including those workers, the number of workers that got the diseases is up to 39 in October of this year, 2010. Fourteen of them died. Most of them are young workers that are 20s and 30s and worked in 1st~ 5th lines, which are manual operational line in Gi-heung plant. Among them, we have two workers that worked in pair and both of them died due to Leukemia. In addition to that, we also have one group consisting of four workers, three of which lost or has been threatened their lives due to Leukemia, melanoma, and Wegener’s granulomatosis, respectively.

The victims of Samsung electronics and electro-mechanics are up to 100.

If we consider the entire Samsung electronics, the number of workers who got cancer is up to 100. In the ‘cancer’, brain cancer, breast cancer, Cervical cancer, Melanoma, Wegener’s granulomatosis as well as all lymphatic and hematopoietic tissues cancers are included. About thirty of them is now the departed. If we consider not only cancer but also another diseases, the number is clearly much high. For example, we have much more workers that have been tortured due to, menstrual irregularities, spontaneous abortions, skin diseases, Musculoskeletal Disorders and so on.

However, Samsung does not shoulder the responsibility for those workers. The Korean government does the same as Samsung does.

The workers that once worked with Samsung only to get serious diseases during their works have not yet got any apology from the company. Rather, Samsung has put their best effort on keeping the fact not being exposed to public. For example, the company has been trying to bribe the victims with money. Samsung should have exposed the information about the toxic chemicals used in their factories. However, they have never done it. Furthermore, they did not put enough effort on knowing which and how much the chemicals are used even though they were given warnings 48 times by their alarm system during 6 months in 2009. The result was the 100 victims who got cancer, which has led about 30 of them to death. However, Korean government has not recognized these cases as occupational diseases, even though it could not prove that those cases were not related to work.

In spite of this tragedy, the festival of IT industry is hosted in Korea.

KES 2010, i-SEDEX, IMID, which the electronic industry, including semiconductor, of 30 countries and 2000 people of foreign buyers will be participate in, are held in Korea, today, October 12. Samsung focuses only on making money without caring anything about the workers who have got disease or even died due to the lack of safety measure. Most of these workers are not so rich that they could not afford to take a surgery. So, they often hesitate to take the surgery that they need, which makes their situation far worse. In addition to that, since the cost to take care of them is too high for the quality of life to be kept as it should be. Nonetheless, Samsung does not seem to like to spend the money that they do spend on holding the festivals with pleasure on those victims.

Stop the tragedy history! Stop the severe reality of workers in world electronic industry!

This Samsung case is not unique. It is not hard to find the stories like this at some other place in the world. For example, we have 250 victims of IBM in US. We also know that the occupational disease and environmental damages on UK, Thailand, and Taiwan electronic industry. The electronic industry has been being transferred from US or UK to Taiwan, Korea, and Thailand and so on. In accordance with it, environmental pollution and the occupational disease have repeated in less developed countries. For this point, we can not help accepting these festivals of electronic industry which suppress the right to health and the human dignity.

Stop the festival! Samsung should apologize to the victims of occupational diseases and take responsibility for them.

It is inhuman for Samsung to open the festival. Because the Samsung has not said a single word for apology to those who have occupational disease and died from it. It should apologize to the dead workers and express its deep sorrow over their deaths before it praises its products taken for the life of many workers. And, the Samsung and the government of South Korea should listen to our outcry.

▶ Samsung should make immediate apology to about 100 victims who have been suffered from the occupational disease.

▶ Samsung should reveal all ingredients of harmful chemical substances and toxic information that have been using.

▶ Samsung should immediately stop the use of harmful chemical substances that have caused a lot of workers sick and die.

▶ The South Korean government should compensate those victims and call the Samsung to accountability.

12 October 2010, on the occasion of opening of I-SEDEX,

Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry

Victims who lost their life in Samsung Electronics up to now

Lee Sanghae ; Researcher of Samsung electronics Display

Died from Leukemia in 2005 at his 30’s

Park Meesuk (1970~2006) ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Osteosarcoma in 2006 at age 36

So ○○ ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Ovarian cancer in 2010

Nam Taeksin ; Engineer of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Melanoma in 2008 at his 30’s

○○○(1970~2000) ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Lymphoma in 2000 at age 30

Hwang Minwoong (1974~2005) ; Engineer of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia at age 31

Lee Minho (1968~2001) ; Engineer of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia at age 33

Hwang Yumi (1985~2007) ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia at age 22

Lee Sookyoung (1976~2006) ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia at age 30

Kim Kyoungmi (1980~2009) ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia at age 29

Choi Heryon (1976~1995) ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia at age 19

Park Jiyeon (1987~2010) ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia at age 23

○○○ ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia in 2009 at age 35

○○○ ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia in 2002

○○○ (1980~2003) Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia at age 23

○○○ (1978~2004) ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia at age 26

○○○ (1970~2003) ; Samsung semiconductor

Died from Leukemia at age 33

○○○ ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Cancer(unspecified)

Lee Sanghoon (1962~1997) ; Engineer of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Stomach cancer at age 35

○○○ (1974~1996) ; Operator of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Aplastic anemia at age 22

Hong Jeong-in ; Researcher of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Severe anemia & Suicide

Joo ○○ (1970~2009) ; Engineer of Samsung semiconductor

Died from Blood disorder(unspecified) at age 39

Do ○Hun ; Engineer of Samsung electro-mechanics

Died from Leukemia in 2007 at his 20’s

Kim ○-jeong ; Samsung electro-mechanics

Died from Leukemia at age 24

○○○ ; Samsung electro-mechanics

Died from Leukemia in 2005

○○○ ; Samsung electro-mechanics

Died from Uterine cancer in 2007

○○○ ; Operator of Samsung electonics

Died from Brain tumor at age 27

Park Jinhyuk ; Worker of subcontractor within Samsung SDI

Died from Leukemia in 2005 at age 28

Hahm ○○ ; Samsung LCD

Died from Brain tumor in 2010

Yeon Jewook (1982~2009) ; Engineer of Samsung LCD

Died from Germ cell tumor at age 27

○○○ ; Researcher of Samsung electronics DVD

Died from Brain tumor in 2009 at his 40’s

Kim Sun-○ ; Operator of Samsung LCD

Died from Stomach cancer in 2008 at her 40’s

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