Exclusive: Hyundai subsidiary has used child labor at Alabama factory – Reuters
Hyundai Motor Co’s subsidiary SMART Alabama LLC has used child labor at a metal stamping plant, according to area police. SMART said it follows federal, state, and local laws and relies on temporary work agencies to fill jobs. The company didn’t answer specific questions about the workers.
Tabatha Moultry, 39, worked on SMART’s assembly line for several years through 2019, and said she remembered working with one migrant girl who “looked 11 or 12 years old”.
Reuters learned of underage workers at SMART after a Guatemalan migrant child went missing in February. The girl and her two brothers worked at the Hyundai-owned supplier and weren’t going to school, according to people familiar with their employment.
The police force in Enterprise notified the state attorney general’s office after the incident, but it’s unclear whether the office has contacted SMART or Hyundai about possible violations.
Several underage workers have found jobs at the Hyundai-owned supplier over the past few years, including Pedro Tzi’s children, who have now enrolled for the upcoming school term. Tzi, the father, regrets that his children went to work at SMART and now does odd jobs in the construction and forestry industries.
A report by Reuters found that Hyundai’s U.S. supply chain includes child labor. The revelation could spark consumer, regulatory and reputational backlash for one of the most powerful and profitable automakers in the world.
At a time of labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, there are heightened risks that children could end up in workplaces that are hazardous and illegal for minors.
For more updates on this story, please consider the news outlets listed below.
- Exclusive: Hyundai subsidiary has used child labor at Alabama factory Reuters
- Child labor reportedly used by Alabama Hyundai supplier: Kids as young as 12 allegedly worked in factory AL.com
- Hyundai subsidiary has used child labor at Alabama factory CNBC
- Hyundai accused of using child labor at Alabama car-parts factory New York Post
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