Korean auto giant Hyundai investigating child labor in its U.S. supply chain – source
The New York Times reported last week on an investigation by the United Auto Workers that found that many of Hyundai’s U.S. suppliers were exploiting young Korean workers. In response, Hyundai told the newspaper that it would take “immediate steps” to investigate the allegations.
“We will respond swiftly when we find evidence of wrongdoing,” an Hyundai spokesperson told the New York Times in an emailed statement. “We will do our utmost to ensure a healthy and safe supply chain, and will take prompt action if we find that our suppliers are not meeting our high standards.”
The controversy is just the latest problem for the Korean automaker, with multiple labor issues already stemming from the group in the last five years, including an investigation of forced labor practices by the Detroit Three.
Earlier this month, Automotive Xpress reported that it had learned that Hyundai was investigating forced labor practices in its supply chain in Mexico, where the automaker operates its North American assembly plants.
As Xpress has reported, the report says that Hyundai “identified an ‘industry practice’ where some suppliers and suppliers’ managers had abused the children while they were working long hours in service vehicles.”
The auto giant has faced multiple labor issues in recent years, including a recent investigation by unionized workers at the company’s Indiana plant that found that three production workers were forced to work without pay for months.
In April, a unionized worker group at an assembly plant in Michigan alleged that workers were forced to work long hours without pay, and that management retaliated against union representatives who complained. Last month, a union at a Hyundai plant in Ohio accused the company of failing to pay workers for hours worked over 40 hours per week, with pay falling under that designation.
Automotive News also broke the story of a North Carolina worker who spoke with The Atlantic over a year after his co-workers allegedly told him he was being forced to work 16-hour days and get paid for none of it.
And earlier this year, the New York Times found that the family of a worker who died in a Hyundai auto assembly plant in South Korea were not told of his terminal diagnosis for 17 months and