Wildcat strike in Hyundai plant

Been a while since i last wrote on the blog. lots have happened. the event that Suraj posted up on the site: Smash the Model Minority myth event, was a great success (as borat would say). We drew out a lot of Asian American youth to the panel, which was largely student-led, and people were really involved in Q and A, engaging with us, and one another as well. We got lots of great contacts from that event and hope to follow up next quarter as our campaign strengthens.

Heard recently from the grapevine (a labor listserv) that Korean workers at the Hyundai plant in Ulsan, SK, have organized a wildcat strike. It is one of the firsts of a strike that involves both regular workers and casualized workers. The article, pasted below, gives a little insight into the struggles between the bureaucratic representatives, and their proposed solutions, and the militant reps with their solution. It was a struggle it seemed, to decide on what premises to stop the strike, what demands to lay out, etc and it seems like the former won out, even though the militants are saying that another wildcat strike might be on its way. This is real exciting to hear, especially at a time when not many wildcats are happening, in comparison to the times that Facing Reality describes, when workers were organizing wildcats all the time to get what they want. It seems very often the vibe today is workers are docile and need to listen to their bosses, at a time when a lot of relocation of factories is taking place. The other cool thing about this strike is how it links up regular and casualized labor. This is a movement that has yet to happen in the U.S. where immigrant labor is so often pitted against the local American workforce. South Korea really seems to be heading this front up. Hoping to to learn more about the Migrant Trade Union (MTU) over there.

Independent report on Hyundai strike:

On the 3rd(Mon), there was a kind of wildcat strike in
HMC Ulsan plant. HMC Ulsan plant has five final
assembly plants. This strike was broken at the 1st
plant which has been the militant vanguard in the
history of HMC workers' struggle.
In each shift(day-night), regular workers go on strike
for the last hour of an 8- hour shift. On the day
shift 800 workers participated in the strike-assembly,
and on the night shift 1,200 workers did. The number
of total regular workers in the 1st plant is about
more than 3,000, and all of them are union members.
Thus two thirds of regular-contract workers
participated in the strike-assembly. (The number of
casual workers in the 1st plant is less than 800. They
did not participate the strike-assembly, even though
the product-line was stopped. They were merely

The leading group of this strike were the
representatives of HMC regular workers' union. Each of
them represents about 100 unionists. They stopped the
product-line ignoring the legal procedure both in
labor-law and the union-statutes.

On the 4th(Tue), the strike was stopped after long
debates among the representatives. The militant
representatives could not win out over the
bureaucratic representatives. But it has not yet
ended. There are some possibilities that another
wildcat strike will break out sooner or later.

The workers' demand can be summarized as a decent wage
now that HMC has reduced production capacity in Korea.
The bureaucratic solution is to ask the boss for more
production capacity. The militant solution is
demanding a decent wage having nothing to do with
production capacity.

Members of the recently-formed HMC rank-and-file
opposition, uniting for the first time regular and
casual workers, played key roles in the strike.

* image above is of striking Hyundai workers in 2007

No comments: