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Activist financial group urges Hyundai to complete human rights assessment

The demand comes after at least four factories in Alabama employed children in the manufacturing of parts for Hyundai and Kia.

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SOC Investment Group, a DC-based financial group that works with union pension funds affiliated with the Strategic Organizing Center coalition, has penned a second letter to Hyundai outlining demands for a human rights assessment of their labor practices after members of its U.S. supply chain were found to have used child labor in Alabama.

The letter urges Hyundai Motor Company to use an “independent third-party review of the alignment between Hyundai’s human and labor rights commitments and existing practices” and appoint a human rights expert to the company’s board of directors. Demands also include the commitment to “ongoing third-party monitoring” of the company’s U.S. supply chain and the insurance of continued employment by workers in Hyundai’s U.S. supply chain, specifically “that those workers who have helped uncover unlawful practices do not suffer as a result.”

“These latest reports weaken our confidence in Hyundai’s Human Rights oversight system and ongoing assessments,” the letter reads. “As a result, we believe that investors, regulators, and the public at large to have confidence in any assessment of Hyundai’s supply chain, such an assessment must be performed by an independent third party empowered to review and inspect all Hyundai’s U.S. operations and to make public recommendations to the Board based on its findings. Moreover, due to the persistent violations of human and labor rights in Hyundai’s and suppliers’ facilities, we believe that Hyundai should implement a plan for ongoing.”

SOC Investment Group, which works with pensions funds with roughly $250 billion in assets, penned its original letter on Oct. 18, of last year.

The revelations that at least four factories in Alabama have employed children in the manufacturing of parts for Hyundai and Kia Corp, in which Hyundai owns a majority stake, is due to reporting done by Reuters. 

Those facilities where children, some as young as 12, worked are the SMART Alabama LLC in Crenshaw County, SL Alabama LLC in Alexander City, an Ajin Industrial Co plant in Chambers County, and another owned by Hwashin America Corp in Greenville.

At least ten plants that manufacture auto parts for both Hyundai and Kia in the state of Alabama have been investigated for the use of children labor, according to Reuters.

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The U.S. Department of Labor, along with state and local officials, is investigating the circumstances surrounding these incidents of child labor usage by members of Hyundai’s U.S. supply chain.

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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