The South Korean Labor Movement: Recent Struggles and the Challenge of the "Marginal" Workers
By Sangjeung Sim, Co-Founder, New Progressive Party of Korea and earlier Co-Founder and Leader of Korean Democratic Labor Party / Korea Colloquium Series
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
3340 Moore Hall (Reading Room)
Sim Sangjeung is a leading progressive politician in South Korea. ; Sim led an anti-authoritarian and pro-democratization movement against the dictatorship of Park Chung Hee in the late 1970s and, after graduating from university, became involved in the labor movement, first working as a seamstress and then as a labor union organizer.
Sim was one of the organizers of the famous general strike in the Kuro Industrial Districts of 1985, the very first labor strike since the Korean War which also raised political demands, for which she spent 10 years on the run from the state authority. She has played a critical role in the creation of the labor organizations such as the National Council of Trade Unions (NCTU), Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), and Korea Metal Workers' Union (KMWU)--South Korea’s first industrial union since 1950. Sim served as the General Secretary of the KMWU from 1996-2003.
In 2000, Sim co-founded the first progressive political party in the history of South Korea to have won seats in the National Assembly--the Democratic Labor Party, and was elected to the 17th Congress in 2004. As a member of the Finance and Economy Committee and the Budget and Accounts Committee, Sim received accolades for her critical articulation of the issues related to the South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, Korean conglomerates such as Samsung, and “irregular” (part-time) employment. She was also selected as the Best Congressperson of the 17th Congress. In 2008, she became a co-chair of the New Progressive Party of Korea (NPPK) and has since focused her energy on formulating progressive agenda for Korean society, especially on issues of education and labor, and is currently pursuing activities to elevate the impact of progressive politics in Korean society and beyond.
This event is co-sponsored by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment and the UCLA Department of Political Science.
This event is open to the public.
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