News & Commentary

July 10, 2024

Everest Fang

Everest Fang is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentary: Samsung union calls for indefinite strike, Disney may face the U.S.’s largest strike this year, and a court-appointed monitor reveals details of his investigation into Shawn Fain.

Yesterday, the National Samsung Electronics Union (NSEU) in South Korea called on its roughly 30,000 members to strike indefinitely, as part of its campaign for better pay and benefits. As Elyse wrote on Monday, the union initially planned to hold a three-day strike, with plans to commence a five-day action next week if the negotiations did not progress. The union said it decided to call for the indefinite action after management showed no intention of holding talks over the workers’ demands. NSEU also claimed that its actions had disrupted production, but Samsung has disputed this claim. This latest escalation comes just a month after the union staged the first walk out the company had ever experienced in its fifty-five year history.

Disney could face the nation’s largest strike this year after unions representing thousands of theme park and hotel workers in California announced that they will vote on whether to stage a walkout. The unions represent 14,000 “cast members” at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney and the Disney hotels. They accused Disney of “unlawful discipline and intimidation and surveillance” of union members, and called for an unfair labor practice strike vote to be held next week. The vote comes amid negotiations over a new union contract. The talks began in April and tensions quickly escalated when the unions filed unfair labor practice charges over cast members not being allowed to wear union buttons at work. The NLRB is now investigating alleged labor violations by the company. The strike vote is scheduled for July 19th.

On Monday, a court-appointed monitor disclosed that he was investigating accusations that Shawn Fain, president of UAW, retaliated against a vice president for resisting actions that would have benefited Fain’s domestic partner and her sister. The monitor, Neil Barofsky, made the disclosure in a court filing seeking access to internal union documents as part of his investigation. Since the investigation began in February, Barofsky and the union have clashed over how much access the monitor should have to union documents, and the pace at which the union has produced them. In Monday’s filing, Barofsky sought extensive access. Barofsky was appointed as part of a 2021 consent decree that ended a federal corruption case against the union. His investigation includes accusations that a regional director embezzled union funds, as well as the accusation involving Fain and his partner. Under Fain, UAW has won substantial wage and benefit increases, and successfully unionized a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee.

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