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After More Than 10 Years, Samsung Workers Get an Apology

And compensation as company says sorry for employee illnesses, deaths
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 23, 2018 11:15 AM CST
Hwang Sang-gi, the father of a Samsung semiconductor factory worker who died from leukemia in 2007, shakes hands with Samsung's Kinam Kim, left, after Kim apologized in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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(Newser) – Samsung Electronics apologized Friday for illnesses and deaths of some of its workers, saying it failed to create a safe working environment at its computer chip and display factories. The announcement by the South Korean tech giant came weeks after the company and a group representing ailing Samsung workers agreed to accept compensation terms suggested by a mediator and end a highly publicized standoff that went on for more than a decade. The company's apology was part of the settlement, per the AP. Kinam Kim, president of Samsung's device solutions division, said the company failed to "sufficiently manage health threats" at its semiconductor and LCD manufacturing lines. "We offer our sincere apology to our workers who have suffered with illnesses and their families," Kim said during a news conference in Seoul.

Dozens of Samsung employees have experienced grave illnesses such as leukemia and brain tumors. The standoff began in 2007 when Hwang Sang-gi refused to accept a settlement after his 23-year-old daughter died of leukemia after working at a Samsung factory. His efforts to clarify the cause of her death and hold Samsung responsible galvanized a broader movement to hold businesses and the government accountable for safety lapses in the chip and display industries, which use huge amounts of chemicals. Samsung will compensate for various illnesses of employees, including as much as $132,000 for leukemia. The compensation also covers miscarriages and congenital illnesses of workers' children. Samsung has yet to fully acknowledge its workplace environment as the direct cause of the illnesses, however.

(Read more Samsung stories.)

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