A group that works with union pension funds is pressing Hyundai Motor Co. to respond to reports of child labor at U.S. parts suppliers, warning of potential reputational damage to the Korean automaker.
SOC Investment Group, which works with union pension funds that have more than $250 billion in assets, sent a sharply worded letter on Wednesday to company chairman Euisun Chung, saying investors were concerned in the wake of a July investigation by Reuters that found child labor at a Hyundai subsidiary in Alabama. In addition, the letter cited a recent federal and state investigation into children working at another Hyundai supplier in the state.
"Child labor and poor workplace health and safety have regulatory and legal repercussions for Hyundai in the U.S. and can cause reputational damage across the globe," said the letter from the group, which advises on corporate accountability issues.
The letter urged Hyundai's board of directors to oversee the company's response and called for several actions including an independent assessment of human and labor rights risks in the supply chain with publicly released results and ongoing monitoring.
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