coco fusco on Tue, 24 Feb 2004 08:34:44 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Workers at LG Electronics/Haeng Sung Request Urgent Support

> Workers at LG Electronics/Haeng Sung Request Urgent
> Support
> The workers ask that you send letters to LG
> Electronics and to Haeng Sung demanding that they
> respect the workers' collective bargaining agreement
> or pay them severance pay.
> ***
> LG Electronics has a TV factory in Reynosa,
> Tamaulipas (across the border from McAllen, Texas)
> where they make televisions under the brands Zenith,
> LG, and Electra. Late last year, LG transferred 350
> workers - all the employees of four departments - to
> a company called Haeng Sung (HS). Both companies are
> headquartered in Korea, and both sell and service in
> the United States.
>  On January 23, HS promised the local Conciliation
> and Arbitration Board (CAB) that it would respect
> the seniority, past wages, and former positions of
> the workers and the collective bargaining agreement
> that existed between LG Electronics and the CTM
> union. However, Haeng Sung has reneged, and the CTM
> told the workers that they have to start over again
> losing all their seniority. The workers are very
> unhappy with this as many of them have been with LG
> for 20 years. They also discovered that their
> government-mandated national health coverage (IMSS)
> has been cancelled. For this reason they are
> demanding either that HS fulfill the terms of the
> agreement or that LG pay the legally required
> severance pay in accordance with Federal Labor Law. 
> Most of the workers with twenty years service are
> earning 71 pesos for an eight- hour day (about
> $7.00). Plant #13 where they were sent to work is
> very unsafe. One worker was bitten by a snake hiding
> in a box of materials, and raccoons and rats wander
> freely through the plant, which is located next to a
> large empty field.
> The workers solder with no protection and no
> functioning ventilation equipment. Those lucky
> enough to have masks aren't given replacement
> filters and have to wash the old filters in water to
> clean out the lead and contamination. They use
> yellow glue and are given "alcohol" to clean up with
> which smells very strong and leaves their hands
> bleached and like sandpaper. They think it's
> acetone, but the label says alcohol.
> They suffer from constant headaches, dizziness,
> nausea and fatigue. There have been miscarriages,
> and they think all this is caused either by the
> solder fumes or the glue. Some think they may be
> addicted to glue.
> On Saturday February 14, the workers found out that
> the Governor of the State of Tamaulipas would be
> touring Rio Bravo. They quickly organized a
> demonstration to demand justice and asked that a
> meeting be scheduled in the state capitol with the
> Governor and that he intervene in the conflict. The
> Governor only said he would speak with the state
> Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare to send an
> inspector to the plant to investigate safety
> conditions.
> On Monday the repression against the workers
> committee began with threats of firing if they
> continue to push their demands.
> "This case is proof that the ten years since NAFTA
> was passed have brought no improvement in working
> conditions and that work is as unsafe and precarious
> as before with the same lack of a living wage. The
> promises made when NAFTA was passed have failed to
> materialize. NAFTA has only created the opportunity
> for violations of workers rights to continue. The
> governments and labor functionaries are accomplices
> to the transnational corporations, aiding them
> function with impunity. The Free Trade Area of the
> Americas and the Central American Free Trade
> Agreement offer promises of jobs, but they only will
> expand these unsafe working conditions and
> violations of workers' rights to the entire
> hemisphere."
> Martha Ojeda, Executive Director of The Coalition
> for Justice in the Maquiladoras
> ·        Send your letters supporting the demands of
> the LG/Haeng Sung workers to both LG Electronics and
> Haeng Sung. A letter and addresses are below.  Send
> copies of your letters/faxes to CJM by fax,
> 210-732-8324, or e-mail,, and to DODS,
> ·        The workers also need donations to support
> their mobilization and legal efforts to enforce
> their rights. Please send donations payable to The
> Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras with a
> note that it is for the LG workers Emergency Fund.
> Mail to CJM at 4207 Willow Brook St., San Antonio,
> TX 78228 or do a bank transfer to: Broadway Bank,
> Account #382167; Routing # 114021933, in San
> Antonio, Texas.
> Sample letter at the end
> Background:
> The workers at Zenith/LG in Reynosa have a valiant
> history of resistance to exploitation. Zenith was
> one of the first electronics manufacturers to come
> to the border in 1977. There was a significant
> strike in the 1980s against Zenith. In 1996, LG
> (formerly Goldstar) bought controlling interest in
> Zenith, and in 1999 it became a wholly owned
> subsidiary of LG. In 2000 when LG changed the
> plant's name there was another strike. The workers
> are currently refusing to work overtime and may end
> up striking. The 350 who have been transferred to
> Haeng Sung have the support of the workers still
> under LG.
> LG Electronics: LG Electronics Inc (South Korea) is
> one of the world's major manufacturers of
> electronics and telecommunications products. They
> had sales in 2002 of $18 billion and profits of $285
> million. Overseas sales account for 75% of the
> company's sales, and they operate in 72 countries
> with between 52 and 64,000 employees. LGE owns
> Zenith Electronics and has a flat-panel display
> joint venture with Philips Electronics. LG was
> formerly named Goldstar. In the US they have
> distribution and service centers in Seattle, Miami,
> Huntsville AL, Rosemont IL (near Chicago) y
> Englewood Cliffs New Jersey. In México they have
> offices in Merida, Guadalajara and Tlalnepantla
> (México state) and a factory in Monterrey which
> produces refrigerators and employs 242 people. They
> have a technology sharing agreement with Thompson
> and recently forged an alliance with US Best Buy." 
> Haeng Sung is also based in South Korea. Founded in
> 1964, Haengsung Co. Ltd. has produced core parts
> concerned with home appliance/display and chemical
> products. It describes itself as having developed in
> domestic and international business over 30 years
> with LG Electronics Co. Ltd. Its assets are listed
> as $22 million; its sales were $33 million; and
> profits were $2 million last year. Haeng Sung's
> Digital division partners with Phillips and has
> expanded its LCD business rapidly building six
> plants in China since 1996, a plant in Indonesia,
> and obviously in Mexico. It has recently entered the
> business of manufacturing televisions and is
> aggressively moving into the North American market.
> It's web site is
> The Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras is a
> US-Canada-Mexico coalition of organizations
> dedicated to supporting the rights of workers in the
> global economy and focused on workers in the
> multinational owned plants operating in Mexico. To
> reach us, call 210-732-8957 or email at
> Sang Su Kim, CEO LG Electronics
> Fax:   Fax: 011-82 (2) 3777-5304
> Email: from web site :
>, select "PR,"
> fill in form, and paste letter.
> Huh Maeng, CEO Haeng Sung
> Fax: 82-51-554-6604
> Email:
> Send copy to Haeng Sung USA:  
> Fax: 619-295-5153
> Email:
> Dear Mr. Kim and Mr. Huh:
> We have heard that LG Electronics has transferred
> 350 workers from its operations in Reynosa,
> Tamaulipas Mexico to Haeng Sung Co. and that Haeng
> Sung promised the Reynosa Conciliation and
> Arbitration Board #4 to maintain the seniority,
> wages, and former jobs of the workers which were
> agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement
> that the company had signed with the CTM.
> Unfortunately, Haeng Sung has not fulfilled this
> promise. It has also illegally cancelled the
> workers' registration with the IMSS which provides
> their medical care. The CTM union has informed the
> workers that they must start as new workers despite
> the fact that many have been with LG for twenty
> years.
> We have also heard that the committee the workers
> elected to represent them to negotiate with the
> company is being threatened with firing if they
> continue to exercise their rights in demanding that
> the company fulfill the collective agreement and
> respect their seniority. We also are aware that
> conditions are unsafe in the plant, that workers are
> soldering and are exposed to lead and solvents
> without any protective equipment, that one worker
> was bitten by a snake, and that wild animals roam
> through the plant.
> We demand that either Haeng Sung respect these
> workers' rights, recognize their seniority and the
> collective agreement and improve safety conditions
> by removing wild animals and providing adequate
> protective gear and ventilation or that LG
> Electronics comply with Mexican Federal Labor Law
> and procedures for layoff by paying them mandated
> severance pay. 
> Name
> Organization
> Address
> Country

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