A new documentary on the agonies of victims of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.’s blood-disorder cluster has chosen an unusual venue for its premiere: South Korea’s National Assembly hall.
On Jun 20, 2017 the new film, Stories from the Cleanroom, had its premiere, hosted by the euljiro committee, a caucus of young legislators of the ruling Minjoo Party that focuses on labor and small-business issues.
Stories from the Cleanroom, produced jointly by SHARPS and the anti-toxic waste global network IPEN, features twenty separate interviews with infirm victims and their next-of-kin as well as families of the deceased ones. An excerpt of the film is available here.
For Samsung’s cluster victims, the word “cleanroom” is something of a misnomer because such rooms were designed to keep clean the electronic components they assembled while the workers are exposed to toxic chemicals. The same is true of their cleansuits designed to keep the products dirt-free, not humans who make them.
Some victims and surviving family members attended the premiere, which was followed by a panel discussion with three lawmakers of euljiro.
“The film itself is intense,” said Joseph DiGangi, senior science and technical adviser with the IPEN, who attended the premiere on the organization’s behalf. “Imagine sitting in a room full of former workers and surviving family members who appear in the film while watching it in a quiet dark room with people sniffing and wiping their eyes.”
“The premiere stunned the lawmakers,” added DiGangi. “The National Assembly location gave it a gravitas that increased the impact even more.”
After ten years of campaigning, on May 8, SHARPS prized open the gate of the country’s legislature as the then-would ruling Minjoo Party agreed to a four-point policy framework urging Samsung to resume dialogue with the advocacy group.
While the framework was the first-ever pledge by the ruling party on Samsung’s negligence in workers safety, it is also true that it was led by euljiro, a tiny faction, during the election cycle.
“The Minjoo Party and euljiro will be with you,” Lee Hack-young, an euljirolawmaker said in a tweet after the premiere, “recognizing that human life is more important than corporate profit.”
There is little reason for SHARPS to ratchet down the pressure on the new ruling party which has a mixed record at best on disciplining Samsung and other big corporations.
An English-subtitled version of Stories from the Cleanroom will be available by August 2017.
SHARPS’s Sit-in Continues
Since Oct. 7, 2015, SHARPS and its supporters have been staging a sit-in at Samsung D’light, the company’s so-called global exhibition space in south Seoul, calling for the world’s largest technology company to: 1) compensate all victims of occupational disease transparently and sufficiently; and 2) make a sincere and full apology.