Guitar Workers + Musicians United!

Cort workers fight into the year 2011

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Woody Guthrie by Shephard Fairey

Woody Guthrie, a singer-songwriter who was seminal to the American folk music tradition, frequently performed with the slogan “This Machine Kills Fascists” on his guitar.  Guthrie said,

“I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling.

I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built.

I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.”

In this vein, the Cort and Cor-tek guitar workers are fighting for their jobs back, because they take pride in their work. As they fight, alongside them are the musicians and cultural workers who stand with the Cort and Cor-tek guitar workers

Even into the cold fall and winter months, Cort and Cor-tek workers did a daily protest in front of Cort headquarters.

Cort workers' daily protest outside Cort headquarters

Even when conducting this peaceful, non-violent action, the workers encounter violence from the management of Cort Guitars.

Placard ripped by Cort manager

The monthly shows at Club Bbang in Hongdae, Seoul, have also continued without pause, all year long, hosting performances and art with the Cort workers.

Cartoonist Dongsoo Yi draws the performers

Throughout 2010, we contacted Fender, asking for an update on the investigation. They knew about the seriousness of the Cort union’s matter with two direct meetings with the Cort and Cor-tek workers in January and March (You can read about those meetings here and here). What had they to tell us by September? That they were still translating documents, at expense to themselves.

That is why the Cort and Cor-tek workers, who have been struggling for their jobs since 2007, cannot rest and cannot stop fighting.

In January 2011, the NAMM Show again opens, bringing the music industry together to promote and sell their products. Cort, Fender and Ibanez will all be there.

And the Cort and Cor-tek workers will be there. Flying from Korea to Anaheim, to again make it known: a guitar worker is not disposable. Demanding fair conditions on the job should not be penalized with mass dismissal.

And we must stand with them.

So once again- January 13- 16th @ Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, California – stand with the Cort and Cor-tek guitar workers of Korea. Contribute whatever you can – whether its outreach, talking to passerby, or by sharing your music, your art, your voice, your hands.

Remember, as Woody Guthrie knows, your guitar is not for the same-old status quo. It is for fighting against a world where people and their work are devalued.

Please contact us through this blog or at

Song for Workers, a woodcut by artist Yoon Yup

  1. I have tried to do my part to help the plight of the Cort workers and have gone on several musician sites on the web to tell others of their fight for what’s right and to refrain from buying Cort until this is resolved.I have urged local music dealers not to stock Cort products and told them of the horrid conditions these workers were forced to toil under.I tip my hat to the Cort workers for their persistance and bravery.

  2. Thanks Derek for your support! It is great that you are spreading the word; please let us know if and when local music dealers decide NOT to stock Cort guitars, so we can also spread the word. The fact is that Cort is profiting tremendously now from sweatshops in Indonesia and China, along with companies that subcontract from Cort, like Fender. If you have friends in LA, please have them support the actions Jan. 13-15 at NAMM! Happy new year!

  3. I live in the LA area and would like to show Cort workers my support. Where can I find out about the meeting details? Exact place, time, etc.

  4. Hi Yvette! I will post a full schedule of activities tonight, and stay tuned on this blog. You can also follow Cort Action on Twitter or join us on Facebook at Cort Worker Action for updates. Are you a musician? How would you like to support? You can send details to our email: Thanks so much for your support!

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