Samsung deliberately kept secret the harmful chemicals its South Korean workers were exposed to, fearing its competitors would learn trade secrets. 76 workers are now dead.
Most of the dead were in their 20s or 30s. One former worker—a breast cancer survivor—reported that Samsung brought in “uninformed kids” and treated them like they were “disposable cups.”
Samsung repeatedly refused to reveal the carcinogenic chemicals workers were exposed to in its factories, the exposure levels, or how it managed the chemicals. And the only reason it gave was protecting its bottom line: “our company's competitiveness would be lowered,” it told the government, which then helped them keep it secret.
Samsung literally put profit ahead of workers’ lives. Tell it to compensate the sick workers and their families and improve safety measures so this never happens again.
There have been 200 cases of serious illnesses at Samsung’s LCD factories, including leukemia, lupus, lymphoma, and multiple sclerosis. There’s no question that Samsung tried to cover it up, and it had government help. The father of one worker who died of leukemia claims Samsung offered him 1 billion Korean ($914,000) to keep quiet.
We’ve done it before. In 2013, hundreds of thousands of us joined a global call to demand garment companies pay a few pennies more per garment to make sure their workers weren’t dying. We all came together in huge ways—making calls, talking to local shops and not giving up. As a result, dozens of companies responded and agreed to our demands. With this kind of pressure on Samsung, we have a chance to make a difference to all the families of workers who died on the job, all the survivors denied compensation, and every new worker Samsung hires.
The time to take action is now.
Join us and make sure Samsung is held accountable for its worker deaths and cover-up.
Note: This petition previously referred in passing to a strike by Samsung's women workers, referring to a Medium post. The strike referred to was fictional, and that reference has been removed. However, the abuses referred to in this petition have been widely established.
Al-JAzeera. 10 August 2016.