BRIEFS: Seattle socialist wins 35% in poll; South Koran carworkers strike

United States: Socialist wins 35% in Seatlle poll

Seattle voters sent a clear message to an out-of-touch political establishment on August 6 that they are fed up with business as usual, and are looking for an alternative to corporate-pandering politicians like Democrat Richard Conlin.

Kshama Sawant, who was recently written off by The Seattle Times as “too hard left for Seattle”, won a stunning 35% of the vote. Sawant is a member Socialist Alternative.

A majority of primary voters voted against 16-year Seattle City Council incumbent, Conlin, who despite a huge fund-raising advantage and name recognition ― received only 49%.

Sawant and a second challenger to Conlin, Brian Carver, won the majority of the vote in the City Council Position 2 race.

Sawant will now take part in the two-candidate run-off election with Conlin to determine who takes the contested position.

South Korean car workers strike

Trade unions at South Korean car firm Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors said on August 14 that their members have voted to strike after pay and benefits talks collapsed, Morning Star said that day.

Hyundai union spokesperson Kwon Oh Il said management had refused all union demands during three months of annual talks.

The union is calling for improved benefits, including $9800 to help workers' children find jobs instead of entering college, a $128 rise in monthly basic wages, bigger bonuses and full reimbursement of medical expenses if workers are diagnosed with cancer.

Kwon said that 46,000 Hyundai workers will determine the extent of the strike early next week. Kia's 30,000 workers are taking a similar step. Hyundai and Kia, which form the world's fifth-largest carmaker, have been in almost continuous dispute with the unions for the past two years.

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