KCTU Hits:264812 2008.08.02 10:17
February 27,2008

His Excellency Lee Myung-bak, President
Republic of Korea
Blue House
Seoul, South Korea
VIA FACSIMILE: 82.2770.0347

Dear President Lee:

On behalf of the nearly ten million working men and women of the American
Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), which
represents millions of public sector workers throughout the United States, I am writing to
express deep concern over the sustained and, at times, violent campaign by the
government of the Republic of Korea to dismantle the Korean Government Employees
Union (KGEU).

For years, the KGEU had refused to register itself under the Public Officials Trade
Union Act, a law that the International Labor Organization (ILO) has found to severely
restrict the collective rights of public sector workers. As a result, the government forced
tens of thousands of union members in 2006-2007 to sign letters repudiating their
membership in the union or face dismissal or other sanctions. At the same time, the
government also began to close local union offices throughout the country and forcibly
expelled officers and members, many of who were beaten and arrested by riot police. As
a result of the repression, the union's membership dropped sharply.

In light of the government's refusal to amend the law, and in effort to maintain its
membership base, the KGEU announced on July 21, 2007 its intent to register under the
current law and continue to advocate for its amendment. The KGEU is now registered
under the Public Officials Trade Union Act; however, there is no indication that the
government intends to bring the law into conformity with the recommendations of the
ILO. The government's failure to reform the current law is creating a steep obstacle to
the creation of a stable industrial relations system in the civil service.

Together, we call upon the government to immediately extend to the union all of
the rights and responsibilities afforded to it under ILO Conventions 87, 98 and 151. The
Korean government should amend the Public Officials Trade Union Act, in full
consultation with worker representatives, and consistent with the relevant ILO
conventions. Further, the government should allow any and all former members of the
union to re-affiliate, should they choose to do so, and remain neutral in effort by the union to organize new members.

In addition, we urge the Korean government to release from prison all KGEU
officers and members that have been arrested and incarcerated for lawful acts in defense of internationally recognized trade union rights.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and look forward to your reply.


John J. Sweeney
Total 19
No. Subject Name Regdate Hits
19 [KoPA] WTO Strategy Paper from Korean Movements [12] KCTU 2003.08.14 283405
18 Report for the WTO General Council review of the Trade policies of Republic of Korea (Geneva, 19 and 21 September, 2012) [92] KCTU 2013.02.15 282968
16 The Road to an Undesirable Deal - Understanding the Kor-US FTA [9] KCTU 2007.02.22 272261
15 ITUC Online : Korea : Anti-union repression continue [7] KCTU 2008.08.02 269768
14 [Statement] Stop KORUS FTA Right Now! [5] KoA 2006.10.24 268645
13 NGO Statement on the case of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction in Philippines [7] KCTU 2009.03.05 267867
12 [Reuters] South Korea braces for major strike on Wednesday [6] KCTU 2006.11.22 267833
11 [Report of Minbyun] Situation of Civil and Political Rights in Republic of Korea [6] KCTU 2006.10.23 266037
10 KCPT Statement On the Erection of Barbed Wire from November 9, 2006 [7] KCPT 2006.11.27 265179
» AFL-CIO letter on KGEU [9] KCTU 2008.08.02 264812
8 Joint Statement on Shwe Gas Development Project in Burma [7] KCTU 2006.11.18 264762
7 Down with the US-South Korea FTA and neoliberal globalization! [5] KCTU 2006.07.13 260729
6 FKTU paper on the KORUS FTA [7] KCTU 2006.08.02 260137
5 No to UN Security Council Sanctions against North Korea [6] KCTU 2006.11.27 259775
4 The Real Understanding of the KORUS FTA [68] KoA 2006.10.25 259004
3 PSSP Statement on North Korea's Nuclear Test [5] PSSP 2006.11.10 257420
2 ITUC Press : ITUC and TUAC express opposition to current Korea-United States free trade agreement [5] KCTU 2008.08.02 255820
1 (AFP) South Korean protesters plan day of strikes, street rallies [6] KCTU 2006.11.22 253700
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