Guitar Workers + Musicians United!

Musicians, artists…

Ozomatli stands with the Cort workers (July 9, 2010 concert)

Do you know who made your guitar?

As musicians, artists, makers, and cultural activists – we believe that the people who make our instruments, who make art and music possible, should be able to work without fear, without harassment, without discrimination  — in short, that they be treated like human beings.

Over decades, the Cort and Cort-tek workers in Korea have made Fender, Squier, Gibson, G&L Tribute, Ibanez, Lakeland, Alvarez, Carvin and Parkwood guitars under conditions that would horrify anyone. And as Jack Westheimer himself, one of the investors in Cort, stated, Waiters in Korea make more than the Cort guitar workers.  So they unionized – only to be locked out of the factory in 2007 when the company shifted all of its production to China and Indonesia.

In protest against this cruel and sudden mass firing, the workers have raised their voices for more than 1000 days of struggle, and we lift our voices with them, in whatever way we know how: by making our music, by lifting our brushes, by making videos, and telling the workers’ story to the world.

Just as music is a global language that crosses borders, so is the belief in justice for the workers who make the music possible. So we take action and we ask you to join us – because a world in which workers are denied their rights and livelihoods is not the world in which we can make music.

If you are an artist, musician, cultural activist, work in media, or otherwise interested in supporting in the creative actions taking place in Korea, Germany, Japan, or the US, please contact: or see the Contact page for contacts outside the US, in Korea and Japan.  You can also spread the news about Cort on music blogs, press, your own site, by linking to this international solidarity blog and the petition, by throwing a concert! an exhibit! a creative action or happening!

*** NEW: You can also get updates and spread the word by joining as a fan on our Facebook page (click here)

Last but not least, please let all the guitar companies that contract Cort and places like Guitar Center that sell Cort-made guitars know that you want to see justice for the Cort guitar workers from Korea. All of the guitar companies listed above have forums and many have facebook pages- After all, it’s not just about the guitar; it’s about the kind of world we want to live in.

* * *

After the January concert, Tom Morello and Boots Riley talk with the Cort and Cor-tek guitar workers

Tom Morello and Boots Riley as Street Sweeper Social Club, performing for Cort worker solidarity concert Jan. 13, 2010 in LA

Musician Tom Morello, of Rage Against the Machine, with his activist mother, signing the banner for Cort guitar workers

One Day as a Lion (including musician Zack de la Rocha) supports Cort workers at Fuji Rock 2010

LA singer/songwriter Samantha Clemons performed her songs for the Cort workers in LA and in Anaheim

Musician Steve Noonan performs in support outside of NAMM Show 2010

Musician Phoenix Benjamin playing a song Jan. 15th in support of Cort workers outside of NAMM

In LA and Anaheim, at the NAMM Show 2010, so many musicians and artists came to support it’s hard to keep track. See this schedule for exact dates and details from the most recent NAMM actions : LA Schedule

The video below shows how South Korean musicians have supported the Cort workers- especially since for many of them, both in Korea and globally, the Cort workers made their first guitar.

Musicians and cultural activists in South Korea have supported the Cort workers by holding a monthly concert in Hongdae, holding one-man protests, and putting together summer rock festivals to publicize their struggle for reinstatement.

Monthly concerts (last Wednesdays) at Club Bbang in Hongdae, Seoul.

In sun, wind and cold, musicians and supporters have held one-person protests in public spaces in Seoul.

In Frankfurt at MUSIKMESSE 2009, a musician performing in support of the Cort worker actions.

A singing group in Tokyo performs at a street action outside of Koenji station, November 2009.

Artists at the CREAM International Festival for Arts and Media 2009, Yokohama, listen to and later help the Cort/Cor-tek workers to put on a performance with a Cort guitar. See the video log below for the video of the performance.

Musicians, the Happenings Band, in Yokohama, Japan

In Tokyo and Yokohama, musicians and artists held street concerts and noise parades, made posters and held performances for the public – including in front of Yokohama’s Pacifico convention center, where the Yokohama Music Fair 2009 was held.

In solidarity with fired Kawai workers in front of Kawai headquarters, Harajuku, Tokyo.

We want to work!

Woodcut art showing Cort/Cor-tek worker by Yoon Yeop. The text says, “We want to work!”

NO CORT Poster graphic, designed by Japanese artist and activist during the week of actions in Tokyo and Yokohama. Download the full-scale version or sticker version at:

  1. Let’Get something done. Dan

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