A shining new era for unionsThe LG Electronics union confederation has announced that it will import a system to ensure quality and environmental standards are met by the company’s brands, for its customers at home and abroad. The union will attach its seal of approval if the products satisfy consumer and environmental criteria in energy efficiency, eco-friendliness, bioengineering, convenience and recycling.
The idea was adopted after the European Union announced that it will only allow technology brands with TCO eco-labeling accredited by the Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees in its economic bloc.
The union of the country’s second-largest electronics maker and the world’s second-largest liquid crystal display producer taking this step toward self-certification is a pronouncement of strict quality control from the design stage to the completed products rolling off its manufacturing lines, and at the same time a display of social responsibility to its customers. The seal “LGE USR” is a symbol of the union’s social responsibility.
The union already released a manifesto in January to enhance transparency in union operations, in which it vowed to stand at the forefront in movements to help protect the environment and care for the underprivileged. The union has set a goal beyond improving the welfare and interests of its members by contributing to making society better. The quality seal is the first step toward that goal.
The attempt by the LG Electronics union will help change the paradigm of union activity in our society. It’s part of a budding new wave in labor, veering from past militant and anti-management action toward a new path of coexistence, cooperation and joint social contribution. The unions at Hyundai Heavy Industries, Seoul Metropolitan Subway, KT and several public entities have departed from progressive labor umbrella groups to form a new dovish group called the New Hope Labor Confederation. The coalition seeks to pave the way for a movement that works with their companies and the public to ameliorate work and social conditions.
We believe the new wave in the labor community comes from the realization that militant and contentious protests by unions are no longer welcomed by broader society.
Instead, LG’s union reinvented its role. We hope the direction of LG Electronics’ union and the third union confederation will prove to be an ideal path, so that many other unions will jump onto the bandwagon.