Hyundai Supplier Used Child Labor In U.S. Factory

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A report was released on Friday. It shows a majority-owned Hyundai subsidiary that makes metal stampings for one of the automaker’s assembly facilities in Alabama used child labor.

The report details concerns and unlawful practices at SMART Alabama. It was found that children as young as 12 years old  were working at the plant. The subsidiary makes stampings for Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama plant.

Hyundai noted that it “does not tolerate illegal employment practices at any Hyundai entity. We have policies and procedures in place that require compliance with all local, state, and federal laws.”

SMART Alabama hasn’t taken any responsibility for any wrongdoing. Instead, they have looked at a temporary work agency. They say they require “these agencies to follow the law in recruiting, hiring, and placing workers on its premises.”

Child labor had been discovered at the plant after a 14-year-old girl had gone missing. The girl’s father is Pedro Tzi, a Guatemalan migrant. He stated that his daughter and two sons, 12 and 15, had worked at the plant earlier this year. The kids weren’t enrolled in school which is illegal for those under 17 years of age in Alabama. To add, those under 18 aren’t permitted, by law, to work at a stamping plant.

According to former workers and labor recruiters, there were about 50 children working at the plant.

SMART Alabama has paid $50,000 worth of fines, since 2013, for health and safety violations. It was also found that the staffing agency that they use are usually opposed by labor advocates. This is because they allow big businesses to accuse others when illegal hiring practices occur.

Labor experts note that with labor shortages and supply-chain delays, the risk of child labor will be higher.

An investigation is on-going.



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