International Letter of support for Samsung workers and their families

Over the past two decades, Samsung has become one of the most dominant electronics companies in the world, and is now a global leader in semiconductors, flat panel displays, mobile phones, and television production.  Sadly, this rapid rise to global dominance has come with serious consequences for the workers who produce the products – recent reports indicate that about 100 workers – mostly young women -  have been stricken with cancer – mostly blood cancers -  and at least 30 of them have died – making this the one of the largest known electronics cancer clusters in the world. (See http://tinyurl.com/2bl5c8a for more information).

 

Samsung has denied all responsibility for these illnesses and the Korean government has declined to declare the cancers “work related” and refuses to disclose results of its investigation of Samsung.  In response, a strong support movement led by the victims and their families has emerged in Korea and around the world and is seeking justice for those who have suffered from occupational illness.  We the undersigned express our support for the workers and their families and call on the Korean government and Samsung to commit to the following principles in addressing this situation:

 

  • Samsung should publicly disclose all of the ingredients of the chemical substances and

toxic information about the materials and processes used in production in its facilities in Korea and throughout the world (“the right-to-know”) – the company should not try to hide behind blanket claims of “trade secrets”;  this information should also be made available through regular hazard communication to the workers;

  • Samsung should disclose all industrial hygiene monitoring and exposure records in its facilities, documenting which substances are being monitored and the results of that monitoring;
  • Samsung should disclose all occupational health monitoring protocols  and records for its workers, making sure to protect confidentiality;  this should include the extent and duration of each worker’s exposure, as well as health outcomes data (morbidity and mortality) such as a mortality data file, corporate health records, and insurance records;
  • Samsung and the Korean government should disclose the protocols and commit to disclose the complete results of all occupational health studies undertaken, including any studies done by outside consultants, such as ENVIRON;   workers and their chosen experts need to be included in ongoing review of the protocols and study methods, which should be available for public review and comment, including  submission of pertinent data from outside parties at each stage of any such study, including the review of and right to comment on any draft findings;
  • Samsung should guarantee its workers that they have the right to refuse unsafe or unhealthy work and that they are protected from retaliation for exercising those rights (right-to-act)
  • The South Korean government should assure fair compensation for all of the victims and insist that Samsung accept responsibility for its actions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endorsed by: (Support committee in formation)

 

Name                                      Organization (for identification purposes only)           City, State and Country

______________                   ________________________________________             _____________________

 

Garrett D. Brown, MPH, CIH            Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network                       California, USA

Richard Clapp, D.Sc., MPH                              Boston University and U. Mass.- Lowell                                     Boston, MA USA

Adam M. Finkel, Sc.D., CIH                              University of Pennsylvania                                                                          Philadelphia, PA USA

Dr. Robert Harrison, MD, MPH       Occupational and Environmental Medicine, UCSF San Francisco, CA USA

Robert Gottlieb                                 Urban & Environmental Policy, Occidental College              Occidental, CA USA

Amanda Hawes                                 Alexander Hawes                                                                                          San Jose, CA USA

Amy D Kyle, PhD MPH                      School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley        Berkeley, CA USA

Joseph La Dou, MD, Director           International Center for Occupational Medicine UCSM            San Francisco, CA USA

Charles Levenstein, PhD, MS           Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts                     Lowell, MA USA

Jim McCourt                                      PHASE Two                                                                                     Scotland

Rory O’Neill                                        Editor, Hazards magazine                                                             United Kingdom

Ted Smith                                           International Campaign for Responsible Technology                San Jose, CA USA

Andrew Watterson                           University of Stirling                                                                      Scotland