Guitar Workers + Musicians United!

Timeline

This timeline lays out the history of the struggle for the Cort/Cor-tek workers unfairly dismissed from Cort Guitars and its acoustic guitar production arm, Cor-tek.

1973 Cort Guitars is founded by Yung-Ho Park as a joint venture
with Jack Westheimer as Yoo-Ah Company

1986 Cor-tek company is founded.

1987 Cort workers in Incheon form a union for an improvement in working conditions and wages, but it is broken up as Cort tells workers that the company is going under anyway.

1988 Cort company states it is undergoing financial hardship and fires approximately fifty workers. But the financial records show that Cort made profit and the workers struggle to form a union for job security.

1991 Cor-tek factory, a union-free workplace, is opened in Daejon.

1992 Cort stops adding manufacturing capacity in Korea and begins to search for new production sites abroad, in part due to union activity.

1997 Cort’s factory in Dalian, China, is opened

1997-2006 Cort and Cor-tek workers are fired in groups as remaining workers
train new Chinese and Indonesian workers

April 2006 Cor-tek workers form a union due to job insecurity

April 9, 2007
Cor-tek shuts its plant in Daejon at dawn,
padlocking gate with no advance warning.
It promises to rehire non-union workers once union workers
resign

April 12, 2007 Cort dismisses all workers at the Incheon plant

May 5, 2007 Cor-tek fires 4 union officers

July 10, 2007 Company announces Daejon factory closure is
permanent

July 12, 2007 Cort worker sets himself on fire in protest

Oct. 30, 2007 Dismissals of union officers found illegal by
Korea’s National Labor Relations Commission

Dec. 12, 2007
Workers occupy Cort/Cor-tek headquarters

— — , 2007 Cort company found guilty of violating Act on Industrial
Health and Safety

Feb. 4, 2008 Courts revoke Cort’s dismissal of 5 victims of industrial injury

May 20, 2008 Workers struggle to set up tents outside of Cort headquarters

July 4, 2008 Company found in violation of Equal Opportunity Act
for discriminating against women employees

July 23, 2008 Management-hired thugs beat protesters outside
headquarters

Oct. 15, 2008 Workers conduct 30-day hunger strike and sit-in occupation
on 40-meter high-wattage electricity tower

Oct. 2008
Korean musicians, artists and supporters begin a public
campaign, with monthly concerts at Club Bbang, Seoul

April 2009 Workers travel to Musikmesse, Frankfurt to publicize the truth
about Cort to buyers and guitar dealers

Aug. 2009 Seoul Administrative Courts find Cort’s mass dismissal illegal
and its claim of financial hardship false

Nov. 2009 Workers and their supporters travel to Yokohama Music Fair
to publicize their struggle, with support from Japanese labor,
musicians, and other supporters

Nov. 21, 2009 Seoul Administrative Court finds Cor-tek’s mass dismissal
illegal

Jan.  2010 Cort and Cor-tek workers travel to NAMM Show in Anaheim
and LA to pressure Cort/Cor-tek and reveal their urgent
situation, and to meet with Cort’s business partners such as Fender.

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