From 1987 Wildcat Strikes to the Korean Metal Workers’ Federation (KMWF)
After the great workers’ struggle of 1987, the independent unions in metal sector created different solidarity frameworks. The Chunnohyup (Korean Trade Union Congress) represented the first expression of nationwide solidarity. The unification of all Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU)-affiliated metal federations into the Korean Metal Workers’ Federation (KMWF) in 1998 gave impetus to the movement to build a national industrial union—a new framework of solidarity that transcends company and regional boundaries to raise working class demands and organize vulnerable workers.
2001 – 2006 Transformation to a National Industrial Union (KMWU)
In February 2001, this movement gave birth to the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU). In the historic industrial unionism ballot of June 2006, the KMWF rank-and-file voted to put into the past the old enterprise structures and put all the membership into the national union, the KMWU. With the KMWU Refoundation Congress in November 2006 and the December 2006 KWMF congress to dissolve the federation, the KMWU has become the main vehicle for 150,000 South Korean metal workers to fight for all metal workers and push forward the processes of social transformation.