USW claims anti-union activities at Kumho’s Georgia plant.
The United Steelworkers (USW) union has sent a letter from USW International president Leo Gerard to South Korean president Moon Jae-in raising concerns about what the USW calls Kumho’s “union-busting actions” toward its workers in the US.
The USW is asking the South Korean government to intervene and ensure that the workers are free to exercise their democratic rights. The USW filed a petition last month with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to conduct a union election for more than 300 workers at Kumho’s plant in Macon, Georgia. The election is scheduled to take place next week. Kumho Tyre responded to the unionization effort in Macon by requiring workers to attend meetings in which managers attempted to dissuade workers from joining the union, the USW said.
The company also has “spent tens of thousands of dollars on union-busting consultants who have shared misleading and inaccurate information on an anti-union website,” the USW claims. Gerard wrote in his letter: “As we understand that Kumho Tyre is currently under effective control of a creditors’ committee headed by the Korean Development Bank, it appears that the government of the Republic of Korea may bear direct responsibility for the behavior of the company’s management. Our union is also concerned about the potential impact the actions of Kumho Tyre management in the US may have on the relationship between our countries in the context of current discussions over the possible renegotiation of the KORUS free trade agreement.”
The USW is requesting that the company “desist from all anti-union activities” at the Macon plant. The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in industries including metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.