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Samsung issues apology to cancer-stricken semiconductor plant workers

post #1 of 63
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South Korean electronics giant Samsung on Wednesday issued a formal apology to workers who fell ill from cancer after exposure to toxic chemicals at the company's semiconductor plants, saying that it should have acted more swiftly and would compensate the victims.

Another Promise still
A still from Another Promise


"We feel regret that a solution for this delicate matter has not been found in a timely manner, and we would like to use this opportunity to express our sincerest apology to the affected people," Samsung vice chairman and CEO Kwon Oh-hyun wrote in a statement provided to the Associated Press. In addition to his role as CEO, Kwon is directly responsible for Samsung's memory, system LSI, and LED units.

Samsung had been fighting against cancer claims from former workers for years, and the issue has blossomed into a major scandal in South Korea. Samsung is a key cog in the country's economy, with revenue equal to nearly 20 percent of South Korea's annual gross domestic product.

Earlier this year, Samsung was accused of strong-arming the Korean-language newspaper NewBizDaily to suppress coverage of the film "Another Promise," which is a fictionalized depiction of the ongoing battle between Samsung and the father of 23-year-old Hwang Yu-mi. Hwang contracted leukemia while working at a Samsung factory in Suwon and later succumbed to the disease.

"To fix the trust issue between Samsung Group and NewDaily, I plan to do my best," wrote Park Jung-kyu, president of the the NewBizDaily, in a misdirected text message. "I spoke with Park Jong-moon, who told me that Samsung was upset about the Another Promise article we published last month."

"After looking into the details, I have directly ordered to take the post down," Park added. Samsung vehemently denied ordering the story's removal, saying at the time that "the allegation concerning the article in question is clearly groundless."

According to the AP, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee -- whose father founded the conglomerate in 1938 -- wants to resolve the cancer dispute before handing the company's reins to his son.
post #2 of 63
"Samsung issues apology to cancer-stricken semiconductor plant workers" and will give each stricken worker a refirbished Galaxy Gear watch...

"According to the AP, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee -- whose father founded the conglomerate in 1938 -- wants to resolve the cancer dispute before handing the company's reins to his son." He is planning on the workers dying and that will resolve everything according to his criminal mind...
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post #3 of 63
Its popularity has been shaken. Many people here in Seoul are not happy at all about this. Well- this and other shady things like their slush fund
post #4 of 63
Samsung causes cancer and should come with a warning label.
post #5 of 63
Samsung press release: Oops! Sowwy!

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post #6 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

"Samsung issues apology to cancer-stricken semiconductor plant workers" and will give each stricken worker a refirbished Galaxy Gear watch...

"According to the AP, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee -- whose father founded the conglomerate in 1938 -- wants to resolve the cancer dispute before handing the company's reins to his son." He is planning on the workers dying and that will resolve everything according to his criminal mind...

The employees will all be buried alive with their founder in a pyramid.

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post #7 of 63
I can hardly wait for New York Times' pulitzer award-winning investigative series on Samescum. (sarcasm).
post #8 of 63
I think they need a little more than just a "sorry" at this point. How about trying to improve the conditions for people that work there? Make actual changes, not just say "oops we screwed up"
post #9 of 63
As if anyone needed another reason to dislike Samsung.

Sorry, but if you support and purchase from Samsung, you're just as bad.

Hopeful that this is the year the chip-dependence from Samsung is over for Apple. That's all that's left.

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post #10 of 63

begin sarcasm - But wait... I thought only Apple's supply chain abused it's workers.  I guess Scamsung really does copy Apple in all things.  - end sarcasm.

 

This kind of thing needs to stop.  While I am happy that Scamsung is starting to be called on it's history of worker safety abuse, this kind of thing is too prevalent in the industry as a whole and it needs to be addressed.

post #11 of 63

oh wait this will somehow play badly on Apple, why someone will discover these employee were in fact making parts which ended up in Apple products.

 

I wonder is Apple Corporate Responsibility Group has audit Samsung like they have been doing to Foxconn and other Chinese manufacturers.

post #12 of 63

1) If this was Apple it would be the lead story on CNN.com and other websites.

2) It's disturbing to me how some here are making fun or making this into a joke or inserting bigotry, these are people's lives - it's not a comedy skit.

post #13 of 63
Samsung have been shifting to countries with even lower production cost. e.g., from China to Vietnam.
 
They started aggressively last year, but will likely accelerate the move this year:
 
It's a challenge when the focus is purely corporate numbers- and cost-based:

http://www.businessinsider.com/workers-riot-at-samsung-factory-in-vietnam-2014-1

 

Unlike Apple, Samsung own and run the factories themselves. Somewhere on the net, there is an advocacy site on improving Samsung factory condition in China. I found it when the advocacy groups complained about Foxconn and Apple. They mentioned that many workers in Samsung's Chinese factories are not full time. They are just temps, and hence do not enjoy any standard company benefits, or full labor law protection. Unreasonable hours, child labor have also been found but no action was taken. 

 

When Samsung move to Vietnam, they can also avoid the troublesome Korean and Chinese grassroots advocacy groups.


Edited by patsu - 5/14/14 at 10:01am
post #14 of 63
I read on other sites that initially Samsung blamed the victims for allegedly making false accusations.

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post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Samsung press release: Oops! Sowwy!

 

Somehow, someway, this will be spun as Apple’s fault. It will probably come out that the employees effected were producing parts for Apple hardware. Wait for NYT headline.

post #16 of 63
WHAT!

Samsung did something wrong and then denied it and then dragged it out in the courts to their financial advantage .... they would never do that!

... mean while, back in the real world.

"According to the AP, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee -- whose father founded the conglomerate in 1938 -- wants to resolve the cancer dispute before handing the company's reins to his son"

What most people fail to realise is that this company is run by a "family" ... They will be now making the victims "an offer they can't refuse".

If you think of Samsung in this way ... everything they do makes sense.
post #17 of 63

In the wake of the Korean ferry disaster, I wonder if victims of corporate/government negligence will have more of a voice. Man-made disasters have a way of changing a nation's culture. 

post #18 of 63

"According to the AP, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee -- whose father founded the conglomerate in 1938 -- wants to resolve the cancer dispute before handing the company's reins to his son."

 

Yes, the outgoing patriarch will take all the blame on his way out the door to live out his years in quiet splender in order to clear the slate for his son, who will repeat the whole process, delaying and denying his own era's wrongdoings until he too takes the blame on his way into retirement.  This is how the Chaebol works.


Edited by RadarTheKat - 5/14/14 at 12:07pm
I don't care about what the ignorant masses perceive as truth. I'm concerned with the facts on the ground.
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I don't care about what the ignorant masses perceive as truth. I'm concerned with the facts on the ground.
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post #19 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

"According to the AP, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee -- whose father founded the conglomerate in 1938 -- wants to resolve the cancer dispute before handing the company's reins to his son."

Yes, the outgoing patriarch will take all the blame on his way out the door to live out his years in quiet slender in order to clear the slate for his son, who will repeat the whole process, delaying and denying his own era's wrongdoings until he too takes the blame on his way into retirement.  This is how the Chaebol works.

I'm not sure about the ... 'quiet slender' though ... 1biggrin.gif
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post #20 of 63
Quote:
revenue equal to nearly 20 percent of South Korea's annual gross domestic product

If ever there was a line to draw which defined "Too Big to Fail" I think Samsung crossed it long ago.

 

No country should let a single company become such a large fraction of their economy.  They should have been broken into smaller companies when crossing the line.

post #21 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by TeaEarleGreyHot View Post
 

If ever there was a line to draw which defined "Too Big to Fail" I think Samsung crossed it long ago.

 

No country should let a single company become such a large fraction of their economy.  They should have been broken into smaller companies when crossing the line.

 

Yeah, this situation is worse than Ma Bell. It'll take some major scandals to break it up since the government, press, and the nation's people all have a stake in Samsung.

post #22 of 63

I am just happy to say I have no Samsung products in my home, the best way to deal with companies like this is with no access to your pocket book. Can the majority of people say the same thing. 

 

Ops, stand corrected, i have product which Samsung parts in them I guess I need to stop buying those products as well.

post #23 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post
 

1) If this was Apple it would be the lead story on CNN.com and other websites.

2) It's disturbing to me how some here are making fun or making this into a joke or inserting bigotry, these are people's lives - it's not a comedy skit.

Thank you mesomorphicman for stating the obvious (that others here are joking about) ...that we are discussing in a forum the lives of people and families here. Yes if Apple had been caught poisoning the health of workers directly under their employment, Tim Cook would be offering apologizes directly to each family. In South Korean like so many newly industrialized countries, people are chattel owned by their employers. When one dies in an accident, another steps up to replace them. As the need to feed one's family becomes more dire, the risks are accepted at personal and corporate levels. The corporate ethics and accountability must be pushed onto these companies and shaming them publicly in every country where their products/services are sold may be the only way to do this. If they claim pride is so important to them, prove it. Prove it with the health and well being of the employees that are making them filthy rich.

post #24 of 63

So he's not genuinely sorry; he just wants to sweep the mess away before his kid takes over.

 

What a class act.

post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Collin Smith View Post

begin sarcasm - But wait... I thought only Apple's supply chain abused it's workers.  I guess Scamsung really does copy Apple in all things.  - end sarcasm.


 


This kind of thing needs to stop.  While I am happy that Scamsung is starting to be called on it's history of worker safety abuse, this kind of thing is too prevalent in the industry as a whole and it needs to be addressed.


 


Sarcasm aside: Unfortunately, this is a part of Apple's supply chain.

Sarcasm back to the fore: Samsung will probably announce that all cancer-stricken plant workers were working on chips sold to Apple.
post #26 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Samsung press release: Oops! Sowwy!

Do you even care about the racist overtones of your comment? That "humor" hasn't been funny since 1950.

post #27 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

"According to the AP, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee -- whose father founded the conglomerate in 1938 -- wants to resolve the cancer dispute before handing the company's reins to his son."

Yes, the outgoing patriarch will take all the blame on his way out the door to live out his years in quiet slender in order to clear the slate for his son, who will repeat the whole process, delaying and denying his own era's wrongdoings until he too takes the blame on his way into retirement.  This is how the Chaebol works.

True, and a good observation. The chaebol system is dynastic and familial in nature, which makes sense in Eastern culture, which strongly values loyalty and group harmony over individual talent.

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post #28 of 63

The scandal here is not really that it happened, the scandal is how they dealt with it: blaming victims, threatening the press etc. This is in pretty stark contrast to how Apple is dealing with such issues. Any allegations that these (and other) companies all act the same are simply wrong. Samsung is a shameful company. Period.

 

Still, this is not a racial, Asian or political system issue. Worker's rights and occupational health standards in the West did not magically appear out of goodwill, and most Western governments have been involved in covering up health hazards. E.g. in the US, the UK and Western Europe there are several nuclear power plants with far above average leukaemia rates in their vicinity, reports and studies on this exist since more than 30 years. Not a single government has done anything about it, except for funding studies paid to prove the opposite.

post #29 of 63
I am amazed that this story ever was published. I doubt the major news agencies will run this story and therefore jeopardize their ad revenues from Samsung.
post #30 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


I'm not sure about the ... 'quiet slender' though ... 1biggrin.gif

Splender.  I typed splender!  Stupid spell checher.  Lol!

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I don't care about what the ignorant masses perceive as truth. I'm concerned with the facts on the ground.
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post #31 of 63
Well, the guy had a stroke, and want to go to heaven eventually...but oops, everyone went there, including the workers...he were in hell
post #32 of 63
A solution not found in a timely manner?
What an apology!
Very hypocritical!
post #33 of 63

So, they aren't arresting picketers anymore?

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post #34 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Do you even care about the racist overtones of your comment? That "humor" hasn't been funny since 1950.

I'm not seeing the racism in that comment. I read sowwy as an insincere, childlike usage of the word sorry. Not as the lallation of the letters "L" and "R". If his goal was to insult a native Asian speaker wouldn't he have spelled is solly?

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post #35 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post
 

Ops, stand corrected, i have product which Samsung parts in them I guess I need to stop buying those products as well.

It is not always easy to know what illegal or unethical aspects there are in the goods you are buying if they were produced in the developing world. For example, most people don't realize that the coffee and tea they are drinking was probably produced using child labor and banned chemicals. They don't print that stuff on the label.

 

Personally, I believe there should be required supply chain audits done before any goods can be imported, we shouldn't be waiting until some horrible situation is discovered before investigating. If it is not required, the manufacturers will cut corners as much as possible to make a buck and that is where the problem starts. You can't trust people to just do the right thing, especially if it costs them money.


Edited by mstone - 5/14/14 at 2:00pm

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post #36 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
 
I'm not seeing the racism in that comment. I read sowwy as an insincere, childlike usage of the word sorry. Not as the lallation of the letters "L" and "R". If his goal was to insult a native Asian speaker wouldn't he have spelled is solly?

Asians pronounce "R" just fine. It is the "L" sound they have trouble with.

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post #37 of 63

The one area where Samsung should have copied Apple, worker safety, they chose not too.

post #38 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Asians pronounce "R" just fine. It is the "L" sound they have trouble with.

It's my understanding that there is no issues with speaking either "L" or "R" but rather, I believe, how they perceive the pronunciations and pronounce the alveolar consonants which stems the common roots of these separate proto-langauge families.

Technically nothing is being "switched" just being said differently. It's more like my inability to roll my "R's" in Spanish. There is no physical reason why I can't and if I had learned Spanish at a younger age — not necessarily my first language — I would have been able to adopt this usage without effort. Whatever happens in the Wernicke's or Broca's areas of the brain (or elsewhere) that seems to have cut off the ability to absorb, hear and recite nuances in a language is still widely unknown and therefore up to much debate.

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post #39 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

It's my understanding that there is no issues with speaking either "L" or "R" but rather, I believe, how they perceive the pronunciations and pronounce the alveolar consonants which stems the common roots of these separate proto-langauge families.

Technically nothing is being "switched" just being said differently. It's more like my inability to roll my "R's" in Spanish. There is no physical reason why I can't and if I had learned Spanish at a younger age — not necessarily my first language — I would have been able to adopt this usage without effort. Whatever happens in the Wernicke's or Broca's areas of the brain (or elsewhere) that seems to have cut off the ability to absorb, hear and recite nuances in a language is still widely unknown and therefore up to much debate.

That is way too technical for me. I'm only aware of my numerous Japanese and Chinese associates who often switch out an "l" with an "r" when enunciating English words. A typical example is the English word "Bleach" would be spoken as "Breach".

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post #40 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogJack View Post

The one area where Samsung should have copied Apple, worker safety, they chose not too.

I think you mean Foxconn. Although One Infinite Loop is not known as a death trap either.

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