UAW calls for immediate release of President of Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
Thousands of striking Korean Confederation of Trade Unionists (KCTU) members held rallies in Seoul, Korea and 13 other provinces on October 20, calling for an expansion of labor law for all workers, abolition of precarious works, just transition based on strong voices of workers, and stronger public services. (credit: Korean Confederation of Trade Unionists Facebook page)
On September 8, 2021, a few weeks before the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) was to begin a one day General Strike, the UAW issued a call for the release of Yang Kyeung Soo, President of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) to the Korean Embassy. On behalf of the entire UAW and International Executive Board, UAW President Ray Curry issued the demand in a letter to the President of the Republic of Korea.
“The UAW condemns his September 2 arrest for exercising his right to free speech. We condemn the September 15 decision to hold him in jail pending trial.We see no merit in the changes against Brother Yang …” President Curry said in the letter.
Yang was arrested on the morning of September 2 after police squadrons in riot gear surrounded KCTU headquarters and entered forcibly. The baseless charges against him include obstruction of general traffic through demonstration, violation of the Act on Assembly and Demonstration, and acts relating to infectious disease control.
A representative from the UAW, accompanied by representatives from the United Steelworkers and the AFL-CIO, traveled to the Korean Embassy to deliver the UAW’s demand for the immediate and unconditional release of Brother Yang and for the implementation of international labor standards into South Korean law. The UAW also declared support for KCTU’s general strike, which drew thousands of demonstrators to Seoul and other provinces on October 20 demanding expansion of labor law for all workers, abolition of precarious works, just transition based on strong voices of workers, and stronger public services.