In 2007, 22 year-old Hwang Yu-mi, who had been working at a Samsung semiconductor plant in South Korea, died of leukemia. Shortly after Yu-mi’s death, her co-worker who she shared a work station with also died of leukemia, at age 30.
Suspecting a connection between these young women’s deaths and the chemicals they handled at work, Yu-mi’s father began a campaign for justice for his daughter and other Samsung workers similarly afflicted.
Working with SHARPS, an occupational health organization, he found that over 200 Samsung workers in South Korea have become ill because of toxic exposures at work, and that more than 70 of them have died so far.
Eight years after Yu-mi’s death, Samsung has finally apologized for the deaths and agreed to pay compensation to workers. However, Samsung still lacks a system to ensure future workers are protected from toxic chemicals at work
We are calling on Samsung to fund an independent non-profit foundation that will determine how to fairly distribute compensation to workers for their diseases and how to develop an effective strategy for assessing and incorporating safer chemicals into production, in order to prevent future diseases.
Without a plan to monitor and remove hazardous chemicals, young Samsung workers like Yu-mi are unknowingly risking their lives every day, just by coming to work. (end)
Stand up for Samsung workers by signing our open letter to Samsung’s CEO: http://action.greenamerica.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=14407
— Elizabeth O’Connell
Campaigns Director, Green America