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DAEWOOSA SAMOA Letter by Tran Chan Hai

1 DECEMBER, 2000

Tran Chan Hai
Federation of Association of
Republic of Vietnam Navy
and Merchant Marine

Representative George Miller
2205 Rayburn House office Building
Washington D.C. 20515
(202) 225-2095

Dear Mr. Miller:

Your trip to my homeland (March 31st, 1999) was of interest to my organization. We are expatriates of South Vietnam and United States citizens yet we retain links to Vietnam. Your visit to the Nike factory in South Vietnam last year where you stated that Vietnam must institute sound environmental policies and labor standards was appreciated.

We, who live in the United States, have strong labor laws that have improved our standard of living. Our brothers and sisters still living in Vietnam do not have any labor protection.

As the senior Democrat on the House Resources Committee you have jurisdiction over the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. Your inspection of the working conditions on Saipan will help to end the scourge of sweatshops in that country.

In American Samoa there was an incident in which a Vietnamese worker was injured at the Daewoosa Samoa factory. The incident is being investigated by OSHA. However, Daewoosa is in arrears for paying its Vietnamese workers, by $325,000, and owes the government more than $140,000 on its land lease payments.

The financial solvency of Daewoosa is being questioned with serious implications to the Vietnamese workers. It cost each worker several thousand dollars to be able to work in Daewoosa plant. They have families to feed in Vietnam and cannot afford to wait an unreasonable length of time to be compensated.

The second concern is who will pay for their transportation back to Vietnam if Daewoosa becomes bankrupt. If the company goes bankrupt the workers will have no money to pay for their return to Vietnam and it is illegal for these people to work in Samoa.

We would appreciate it if your office could conduct an investigation of the working conditions at the Daewoosa Samoa facility. We are concerned for the welfare of the Vietnamese citizens.

Tran Chan Hai

Daewoosa Samoa

Daewoosa operates a sweatshop in American Samoa. On a previous occasion they were investigated for not paying their Vietnamese workers while paying their Samoan workers.

Daewoosa was fined and ordered to pay the Vietnamese workers the pack pay owed. They did not do so. They then began to withold their pay again.

This led to hard feelings between the Vietnamese workers and the Samoan workers. Daewoosa lost no time in exploiting this situation. A much larger and physically stronger Daewoosa supervisor assaulted a frail Vietnamese woman. The Vietnamese workers came to her aid. The Samoan workers attacked the Vietnamese workers. During the resulting melee the Vietnamese woman lost an eye and is permanently blinded in that eye. Several Vietnamese workers were injured.

Vietnamese communities throughout the world responded with outrage to this incident. Tran Hai had this letter drafted to Representative George Miller of California. His E-mail is: >George.Miller@mail.house.gov<

We urge you to support these people by contacting your legislative representatives in your area. If you do not know who your representatives are or how to contact them do a search under "contacting the congress" and click on the map. Be aware that the representatives list is not up to date.

This site has a link to the representative for American Samoa.

The Honorable Eni F. H. Faleomavaega
United States House of Representatives
2422 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-5201
DC Phone: 202-225-8577 DC Fax: 202-225-8757
His E-mail is >faleomavaega@mail.house.gov<

Sheila L Richardson

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