The Hidden Truth about the Korean Resource Center

PLEASE READ. This website and our public statement only exist because on November 4, 2019, certain staff members of KRC, who have been enabled and supported by the Board of Directors, publicly spread falsehoods to the media, community partners, and community members about KRC, its then-Executive Team, and its unionized staff members. Our public statement was a last resort. Since September 2019, long before we ever decided to publish our statement, we, the union supporters of KRC, utilized and exhausted all internal processes to raise our grievances about our workplace conditions. However, the Board repeatedly refused to meaningfully address our concerns and, in fact, actively condoned the malicious falsehoods disseminated publicly on November 4. Thus, we decided to set the record straight by informing our community about what actually happened at KRC and why we acted collectively to address our workplace issues.

UPDATE 11/15/2019:  Eleven union-supporting staff resigned from KRC, and we need your help to support them!

After a month of retaliatory union-busting tactics from the Korean Resource Center’s Board of Directors and its new transitional management, 11 employees, making up the majority of the organization’s full-time and longest-serving staff, are leaving KRC in protest on November 15, 2019.

The 11 union workers are comprised of youth organizers, administrative staff, and legal service staff. Many of them rely on each paycheck to make ends meet, are the breadwinners of their families, come from working class backgrounds, and are paying off significant student loans. They come from the very communities that KRC seeks to serve.

Yet, the union-supporting staff have been the targets of the Board’s hostile actions, which have recently included surveilling them in the office, selectively keeping tabs on their day-to-day work, restricting them from going into the office, making false accusations against them, continuous gaslighting, and various veiled threats. Because of the Board’s hostile actions, working at KRC has become unbearable and the staff resigned in protest.

To our community and supporters, we ask for your help to meet our goal of raising $30,000 by December 3, 2019 as an emergency fund to help our departing staff cover rent, bills, medical expenses, and other necessities as they search for new jobs during the holiday season.

As the union supporters at KRC, we believe in the power of the people to create progressive change from the bottom-up. We hope to continue serving and building with our communities.

S. Cheng (4 years, Youth Organizing Manager)
D. Kim (4 years, Legal Services Manager)
N. Kim (4 years, Campaign Manager)
H. Ko (2.5 years, Legal Fellow)
J. Luong (2 years, Finance & Operations Coordinator)
J. Mercado (1.5 years, Youth Organizer)
L. Ngo (2.5 years, Youth Organizer)
J. Park (4.5 years, Legal Services Manager)
L. Velasco (1.5 years, Youth Organizer)
R. Vera (2 years, Youth Organizer)
R. Wang (3 years, Service Learning Coordinator)
J. Seon (7 years, Immigration Legal Services Director)
Y. Kim (13 years, Director of Digital)

November 15, 2019

Since Board President Dae Joong (DJ) Yoon returned from his sabbatical in June, the KRC Board, led by DJ and fellow Board members, Inbo Sim and Angela Oh, have divided the organization and acted viciously to drive out emerging leaders who have steered positive changes at KRC and in the community.

In the past several weeks, three of the longest-serving staff at KRC submitted their resignation to protest DJ Yoon and the Board. The three staff who resigned include the Executive Director (Jonathan Paik) and two of the longest-tenured staff (Yongho Kim and Jenny Seon). When Jenny Seon, the former Legal Service Director, asked that she remain at KRC until her cases were properly transferred, the Board retaliated against Jenny by locking her out from the office without a chance to properly notify her clients and colleagues.

Today, on November 15, eleven union employees of KRC, making up a majority of its remaining full-time staff, resigned in protest of the KRC Board and their hostile actions against the union-supporting staff.

As employees of this organization, our grievances with the Board can be summed up as follows:

  • The Board employed retaliatory, anti-union behavior to serve a personal agenda. Our union with the Machinists was legitimately founded and did not exist via a technicality, nor did it emerge at the expense of anyone on KRC staff. However, the unionization process was undermined by the KRC Board, using corporate divide-and-conquer tactics to distract from the staff’s legitimate concerns with the Board’s leadership. These actions are decisively and unambiguously anti-progressive while exploiting the most vulnerable members of KRC staff.
  • New leadership at the Korean Resource Center cannot thrive under current conditions. One of the most disturbing outcomes of this conflict has been the villainization of the younger generation of workers within the organization. KRC Board members have demonstrated they will take drastic measures to defend power structures and powerful individuals–and not the people they serve–by any means necessary. As long as this Board is unable to listen to and internalize feedback, they will never be able to step aside to allow others to drive the work.
  • The KRC Board has demonstrated a holistic failure of leadership and is severely under equipped to handle the responsibilities of governance. While grave misconduct can be traced to specific board members, it is abundantly clear that the Board as a whole has incompetently handled this situation from beginning to end, and we are all the poorer for it.

For a complete account of what happened, please refer to our November 7, 2019 Full Statement.

Korean: 노동 권리를 지지하는 민족학교 실무진의 공개 성명서