New victims from other companies
Recently SHARPs was able to get some information of several cancer victims of different companies from Samsung.
One of them is Kim Jin-ki, 38 year-old male worker of Magna-chip semiconductor in Cheongjoo City, which used to be a part of Hynix Semiconductor.
He used to work for 14 years as a maintenance engineer of an ion implanter (the facility for implantation of ion as Arsenic or Phosphorus into the silicon wafer), being exposed to various chemicals and radiation. He got leukemia last year, and several years before he got a thyroid disease too. He died on May 28, due to the graft-versus-host-reaction after a bone marrow transplantation. He had been healthy before he got the diseases from his workplace. There is no familial history of cancer in his parents and his two brothers.
SHARPs with some local activists and a labor attorney prepared his application for workers’ compensation. We made a press conference together on September 8, when his wife applied for compensation to the government.
The second victim we discovered was from the medium-sized company, Kijoo industrial Co. in Incheon City, one of the suppliers of LG and Samsung, manufacturing PCB for those big companies.
The victim’s name is Park Sung Chul, born in 1977 in China. His family used to be the “Chosun-jok”, the Korean people in China, and he recently came back to Korea and got the new nationality as a South Korean.
But he and all his family have been living as ‘migrant’ workers. That’s why Park who had graduated university of economics had to work as a blue collar worker, in the cleansing and plating process using various chemicals.
After three years of work, he got leukemia. The heart-breaking story is he had given up further treatment after three times of chemotherapy. He had been recommended bone marrow transplantation, but he refused all kinds of therapy… due to the lack of money… The family of migrant workers was too poor to support all the treatment. So he had been lying in his home under his old mother’s care, and died on September 22.
His uncle had tried to find out someone who can help them for workers’ compensation, and through a local NGO he could meet the Korean Metal Workers Union. On August 10, Korean Metal Workers Union put in a collective compensation application of many cancer victims including Park. His cancer and death show all the typical problems in workers’ claiming their right to safety and health.
SHARPs has been making a concentrated series of public activities under that name every year, at the end of July. In the Korean language, the abbreviation of that name is “Bahn-Dahl” which has the same pronunciation as “half-moon”. So the symbol of these actions is the half-moon.
This year, we’ve changed the Bahn-Dahl into six weeks of action, under the slogan of “Ho~”.
The “Ho~” means the motion of blowing a breath, usually to cool down hot food for child or to reduce pain of a wound. It can be used when people try to comfort pain of others, both physically and mentally. This slogan was made for waking up the heart of solidarity that people have within themselves, and for making a space for us to tell them what is the real pain of the victims and what must be done to relieve it.
We will gather signatures demanding;
1. to compensate the victims right now (and accept and follow the court decision and withdraw the appeal),
2. to disclose all the information. Especially, the government agencies like OSHRI in KOSHA must reveal their research results according to the law on public organizations’ disclosuree of information. Also we are demanding the right to participate in the relevant research.
3. and to take the responsibility on the part of the government and the company. Especially, the government must make to improve the working environment to guarantee workers’ safety and health, covering all the electronic sector.
Bahn-Dahl was begun on September 21 in Suwon city where the major Samsung semiconductor factories are located. Off-line activities of Bahn-Dahl is mainly a candle-light rally once a week with some cultural performances like songs, dances, and short movies, at Busan, Suwon, Seoul, Cheonan, and Cheongju cities.
On-line activities include internet petition-signing to a demand letter, which will go on till October and finally be made into a formal protest letter to the government and Samsung.
Here are some photos of the first Bahn-Dahl in front of Suwon Station
The first group of five leukemia and lymphoma victims have filed the lawsuit against government’s refusal to compensate; all the cases went to the high court on July 14, and now are in the course of preparing documents.
The second group of victims in the lawsuit is composed of four victims with different diseases like brain tumor (Han Hyekyoung, Samsung LCD), aplastic anemia (You Myoungwha, Samsung semiconductor), multiple sclerosis (Lee Heejin, Samsung semiconductor), and malignant brain cancer (Lee Yoonjeong, Samsung semiconductor); they are each in the course of court processes. Two of them, You Myoungwha and Lee Yoonjeong, are from the same department of Burn-in test in Samsung semiconductor factory at Onyang City.
At present, SHARPs has gathered the information of about 150 victims, among which there are around 50 deaths. The exact number needs to be calculated and updated again.
The number who have applied for national workers’ compensation through SHARPs is 21, including one Magna-chip worker. Of these 21 cases, 18 of them have been decided by KCOMWEL to NOT be compensated, and others are still in the process of decision.
Lee Yoon-jeong, who had been diagnosed with malignant brain cancer in 2010 and been sentenced to be able to live only one year by the doctor, fell again recently. Her cancer couldn’t be removed fully. She gets chemotherapy again now, but the prognosis doesn’t seem to be good. We are praying for her survival with the least suffering. Her age is 31 now.
Han Haekyoung, the severely disabled women after removal of a huge tumor from her cerebellum since 2005, has been hospitalized in ‘Green Hospital’ for free to get rehabilitation treatment. However she and her mother have been suffering from poverty because none of them can work for money. SHARPs has been supporting the least money for their life every month for more than two years, by collecting money from many nameless contributors.
As the number of victims becomes bigger, the types and depth of pain of them which must be shared by the whole society become more serious. Many of the victims and their families need either economical or psychological support, or both.