Hyundai and the U.S. Department of Labor are in talks over the automaker’s controversy regarding child labor.
While the automaker and the Labor Department have been in talks, Hyundai has requested third party audits of all of its in state supply plants.
The car company, according to Reuters, announced that it will be making changes in hiring and training practices. Hyundai said it will have employment training programs and validate job applicants’ identification. The company is also creating anonymous tip lines and will not use staffing agencies to fill jobs.
Part of the investigation is into child labor trafficking networks. It has been reported that at least four auto part suppliers in Alabama utilized some form of child labor. In some of these cases, the children were not in their teens.
A Reuters investigation revealed the use of child workers, one as young as 12, by SMART Alabama, a Hyundai subsidiary in the south Alabama town of Luverne. In August, the U.S. Department of Labor said SL Alabama LLC, another Hyundai supplier and a unit of South Korea’s SL Corp., employed underage workers, including a 13-year-old, at its factory in Alexander City.
More than 30 members of Congress sent a letter last week to the Labor Department requesting an investigation into Hyundai’s use of child labor. None of the representatives were from Alabama.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.