He added when workers asked whether or not employees in South Korea are unionized, they refused to answer and that Kumho has hired anti-union consultants who have posted "misleading and inaccurate information" on an anti-union website.
Mr. Gerard said that employees at the site have raised several concerns — including the right to fair and equal treatment, with no discrimination, retaliation, favoritism or harassment — and that seniority should be the basis of selection for job signing, awarding overtime and scheduling vacation.
He stressed that employees believe safety should be a "proactive value in the workplace," and that everyone is entitled to a safe work environment with adequate training, availability of personal protective equipment and written standards/procedures.
"We are concerned that by opposing the efforts of its workers to exercise their right to freedom of association by forming a union," Mr. Gerard said, "Kumho Tire may violate its obligations under international agreements including Convention 87 of the International Labor Organization, Chapter 19 of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, among others."
He added that the company's behavior could have an impact in the possible renegotiation of the KORUS Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and South Korea.