Tozen JCFL Local Scores Final Victory in Labor Commission

On August 9th 2019, Tokyo High Court ruled that Japan College of Foreign Languages interfered with union leafleting in June and October of 2013, violating trade union law and the constitutional rights of Tozen Union members.

The Tozen JCFL local, established in 2013, faced a hostile reception from the outset. At two union actions JCFL obstructed union leafleting. The union sued JCFL in the Tokyo Labor Relations Commission. On Jan 25, 2016, the commission ruled that the school had interfered with legitimate union activity and ordered the school to apologize.

JCFL appealed to the Central Labor Relations Commission, which upheld the ruling.

The school sued the government to overturn the ruling. On March 1, 2019 Tokyo District Court again ruled against JCFL. The school took the case to Tokyo High Court which rejected JCFL’s appeal.

On Aug 13, six years removed from the illegal obstruction, JCFL finally apologized to the union.

“Rather than take responsibility from the very beginning and simply apologize, JCFL has adopted a strategy of stonewalling and endless litigation, wasting time and prolonging the inevitable,” said Tozen Senior Organizer Gerome Rothman. “JCFL has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the union, except under court order.”

Union President Todd Williams said, “To call this a hard won victory for the union would be an understatement. It is a testament to the grit and tenacity of our members. JCFL cannot escape the consequences of its belligerence towards the union.”

Tozen Union is featured in labornetjp.org

広がる国際連帯!〜小さな島国の大労組から大きな島国の小労組への招待状
アイスランドの労働組合「エフリング」から東ゼン労組が正式に招かれる

Read all about it!

Tozen President Hifumi Okunuki

An article in http://www.labornetjp.org features Tozen Union, detailing how our comrades in the Iceland Efling union recently invited us to their country.

Comrades Louis, Cornelia, Gerome and Adam celebrate thhe hanging of the sparkling, new Tozen sign.
Tozen Da! International comrades stand shoulder to shoulder.

Tozen Welcomes Begunto

Tozen Union would like to welcome Berlitz General Union Tokyo (Begunto), who recently voted to join us. Begunto has a long, illustrious history as a fighting union  going back a quarter century. It is an honor to count them now among our ranks.

 

Begunto, the Berlitz union.

 

If you work for Berlitz and have any questions at all, feel free to contact Begunto here.

Japan Times Editors’ Open Letter

On Nov. 30, 2018, the Executive Editorial Committee at The Japan Times published an Editor’s Note announcing changes in the way the newspaper would describe both the so-called comfort women and wartime forced laborers recruited before and during World War II to work for Japanese companies.

Under the former style, the comfort women were described as “women who were forced to provide sex for Japanese troops before and during World War II.” Under the new style, they were to be referred to as “women who worked in wartime brothels, including those who did so against their will, to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.”

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Chris Beardshall (left), Louis Carlet and Adam Cleeve, members of the Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union, hold a news conference Thursday at the labor ministry after Beardshall and Cleeve filed a lawsuit against Shane Corporation Ltd. | DAISUKE KIKUCH

Teachers claim dismissals were invalid in suit against Shane English School

Two British language teachers who worked for Shane English School Japan filed suit Thursday against the school’s operator Shane Corporation Ltd., claiming that their dismissals were unfair and invalid.

Chris Beardshall, 46, and Adam Cleeve, 44, demanded that Shane pay their monthly salaries until the day of the case’s final judgment. The two were hired on fixed-term, one-year contracts, with annual renewals possible.

Beardshall said he joined Shane in 2003 and that he was dismissed as of Dec. 31, 2016, after refusing to sign a contract that included a drastic pay cut.“Shane decided to cut my salary by two-thirds … yet they know I have a wife and a child,” Beardshall said during a news conference held Thursday at the labor ministry

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Tozen Union Wins Precedent-Setting Negotiating Language Case Against Tokyo Gakugei University

The Tokyo Labor Relations Board on Wednesday ordered Tokyo Gakugei University to “engage in collective bargaining without insisting it be conducted in Japanese or that (the union) bring an interpreter.”

In the first case of its kind, Tozen Union and the TGUISS Teachers Union had sued the school for making negotiations in Japanese a condition of holding collective bargaining.
The university argued that talks should be in Japanese because “this is Japan” and that forcing management to negotiate in a foreign language would be an intolerable burden.

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Tozen Union Wins Berlitz Pension Suit, but …

June 17th, 2016 1:25 PM
Tokyo District Court on Friday overturned Japan’s Pension Agency’s 2011 decision rejecting Tozen member Yancey Co’s appeal to enroll in Japan’s shakai hoken health and pension scheme.

Co’s employer Berlitz Japan had kicked him off shakai hoken in 2008, after his work hours apparently fell below 30 hours per week in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The 30-hour, or 3/4 of a full timer, threshold can be found nowhere in labor law but rather in the agency’s internal memo dated June 6, 1980.

The English language instructor from Vancouver, Canada, had asked the agency to force Berlitz to enroll him but through three appeals the agency ruled against him.

Undeterred, Co sued the agency in January 2012. “I wanted part-timers to have the right to enroll.”image

After four and a half years of litigation, Tozen Union sees the Friday victory as a partial victory only.

“We insisted that the memo has no legal force and should not be used to kick someone off shakai hoken,” said Louis Carlet, an executive of Tozen Union. “We were hoping the court would declare the memo illegal. Unfortunately the judge didn’t go that far.”

Tozen Attorney Shoichi Ibuski said, “This is one step forward and we hope to use this to go further still.”

(See video presentation below.)

English:

Japanese:

Tozen Union wins victory over JCFL

The Tokyo Labor Commission ruled Monday morning that Japan College of Foreign Languages (JCFL, a division of Bunsai Gakuen) had illegally interfered with Tozen Union’s leafleting actions in front of the school.     Tozen Union and its JCFL Local claimed that management sent employees out to block the union from passing out leaflets and made the union look bad.

The commission ruled in favor of the union, ordering management to cease all such interference and to post a large sign apologizing to the union at the workplace for ten days.

The victory was thanks to the relentless struggle of the local.

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