Belabored Podcast #179: Samsung’s Labor Abuses

Belabored Podcast #179: Samsung’s Labor Abuses

South Korean journalist Lee Jae-yeon discusses her investigation of working conditions in Samsung factories in nine cities in India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Workers at a Samsung Electronics factoroy in Noida, India, participate in a survey about their working conditions on May 22. (Cho So-young, Hankyoreh TV producer)
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Samsung Electronics has been instrumental in supplying the gadgetry that keeps us all connected. But the company is also a vast, opaque empire stretching around the globe, run by a secretive circle of South Korean executives that has an enormous amount of both wealth and power, and apparently, little respect for the rights of the people who make up its global labor force. In an extensive investigation spanning nine cities in India, Indonesia, and Vietnam, reporters with the South Korean news outlet Hankyoreh examined harrowing stories of workers getting sick or dying, reportedly due to the harsh and hazardous working conditions in Samsung Factories. And they also explored widespread allegations of systematic abuse of workers who sought to organize their factories. We talk to one of the co-authors of the series, Lee Jae-yeon about Samsung’s global web of corporate impunity.

In other news, we’ve got a Minnesota double-header: Amazon worker Mohamed Hassan on an impending strike on Prime Day, and SEIU’s Iris Altaminaro on charges of union busting and discrimination against airport workers; unionizing daycare workers at California; and the arrest of Puerto Rico’s scandal-ridden former Education Secretary. With recommended reading on a standoff between writers and talent agents in Hollywood, and a victory for U.S. women on the pitch. 

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Former Puerto Rico Education Secretary Arrested on Federal Corruption Charges (Mother Jones)

Former heads of Puerto Rico Education Dept. and Health Insurance Administration arrested along with president of BDO (Caribbean Business)

Workers Allege Discrimination at the Airport (Workday Minnesota)

In high demand, but with little pay, day care workers hope to unionize (KCRW)

Amazon Workers Plan Prime Day Strike at Minnesota Warehouse (Bloomberg)


Lee Jae-yeon, staff reporter Hankyoreh

[Special report- Part I] Worked to death at the ripe age of 22

[Special report- Part II] Samsung’s labor violations gone global

[Special report- Part III] Curses, verbal abuse, and impossible quotas

[Special report- Part IV]Samsung’s systematic dismantlement of its first overseas labor union

[Special report- Part V] Samsung has come under fire worldwide for its union-busting tactics


Sarah: Liz Clarke, After a World Cup victory like no other, one chant stands out for the U.S. women: ‘Equal pay!’ (Washington Post)

Michelle: Keli Goff, Democratic Candidates Are Ignoring One of the Year’s Biggest Labor Disputes (The Nation)

tote | University of California Press Lima