Capital’s crimes against unions

▲ Attorney Soobin Yoon (Gwangju Office of the Korean Federation of Trade Unions)

Even today, workers in the field are exposed to various criminal punishments, such as obstruction of business, trespassing, defamation, and damage for their union activities and industrial action. Capital and power wield the criminal law in the name of social control, blocking workers’ mouths and urging them to remain silent. Although it may be difficult to apply the law justly, it must not be biased.

Unfair labor practices and their actual conditions

The Trade Union and Labor Relations Adjustment Act (Union Act) defines unfair labor practices as unfair labor practices, such as unfair treatment, refusal to bargain collectively, and intervention in control (each subparagraph of Article 81) among acts that infringe on the three labor rights. This is a legal sanction for several types of violent anti-union acts that are expected to seriously undermine the three rights of labor, and is the minimum required to guarantee the three rights of labor. Judicial remedies are possible, but expeditious and professional remedies are promoted by authorizing the Labor Relations Commission, a state agency, to investigate ex officio. Does this mean that unions can now receive minimal but effective protection?

Unfortunately, that is not the case. In 2020, only 15.3% of the Central Labor Relations Commission and 10.2% of the local Labor Relations Commission recognized unfair labor practices. (Considering that the prosecution’s 2020 criminal case prosecution rate is 29.9%, the rate of prosecution for violations of the union law is lower than that in light of past cases, and the union law has more punishment provisions for unions, the prosecution rate for unfair labor practices is very high. It is clear that it will be low, and the actual recognition rate of unfair labor practices is poor.)

Here is an organization that advocates cooperatives in Gwangju and Jeollanam-do. When the workers they belonged to tried to establish a union, the group imposed disciplinary measures such as dismissal, transfer assignment, and suspension from the union members, and the Jeonnam Regional Labor Relations Commission ruled that it was unfair. The cooperative sued individual members for defamation, fraud, and embezzlement, and the prosecution dismissed the charges. In order to prevent the union’s assembly, they reported the assembly in advance, and applied for an injunction of 1 million won per assembly in case of a ban or violation of the assembly. It did not stop there, but outsourced the duties of the union members and forced them to change jobs, which was equivalent to dismissal.

Although capital clearly imposed a disadvantage on union members on the grounds of union activity and resulted in the number of union members shrinking to less than half, the Labor Commission did not recognize it as an unfair labor practice. This is because the union could not prove the intention of capital to engage in unfair labor practices.

Unfair labor act intention, union must prove it

The ‘willingness to engage in unfair labor practices’ is, in fact, a key key in determining whether or not unfair labor practices are recognized. Unfair labor practices are essentially smuggling, because the burden of proving that they were ‘willing to engage in unfair labor practices’ rests on the elderly.

It is worth noting that the Labor Union Act provides for criminal punishment for unfair labor practices. The unfair labor practice system is not a global and general system from its existence to its specific content. The fact that our society has defined some types of unfair labor practices as violating the three rights of labor and stipulated punishment for them means that “our society regards unfair labor practices as anti-social behaviors that violate order”.

Unfair labor practices are a crime against the union of capital. In practice, however, there is a questionable point in the judicial system. First, although the state has the duty to investigate and reveal the crime, the Labor Commission operates an on-site investigation and request for data submission with the aim of reducing the burden of proof on the labor side. is the visible point. (Even the system is not being properly operated. According to the data submitted by the Central Labor Committee to the Environment and Labor Committee of the National Assembly in 2019, field investigations over the past five years were only 7.8% of the middle and 6.3% of the middle and middle union members. The request for data submission was also 20 %. At that time, there was a Ginowi who did not conduct a field investigation even once in five years.) Second, the criminal’s ‘intention’ is not only definitive intention but also unwritten intention (even when recognizing the possibility of crime results) case) is also included, but in regards to the intention to engage in unfair labor practices, it requires the elders to prove their will.

Technological methods to strengthen the Labor Commission’s ex officio investigation responsibility – Similar to the method in which the court issues an active ex officio investigation re-order by the Labor Commission, and similar to the document submission order system, a person who refuses to submit documents or statements rejected by the Labor Commission is adopted by the court A method not to do so, a method to mitigate the degree of proof, etc. may be considered.

However, let’s not forget that unfair labor practices are crimes committed by capital against the union. Failure of the Labor Relations Commission to fulfill its ex officio investigation responsibilities is negligence, and it is irresponsible for the court to cite such cases unfavorable to the labor union as it is.

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