Labor Commission to Heart: Don’t demand union come to you!

 

Tokyo Labor Commission on Friday handed down a win to Tozen Union against Heart Corporation, ruling that the ALT dispatcher had refused collective bargaining in violation of Article 7.2 of Japan’s Trade Union Act.

The corporation has a notorious history of treating ALTs with utter contempt. Heart is “one of the worst in a terrible industry,” as described by Tozen organizer Louis Carlet.

The inaptly named corporation fired Union Member Ravy in 2016 for seeking assistance from coworkers during a painful personal crisis. Tozen Union demanded CB, but Heart President Tatsumi Wakabayashi insisted the venue be in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, where the company is headquartered, even though Ravy had worked in Yokohama and Tozen is headquartered in the capital.

After several attempts to work out the venue issue and repeated refusals by the company, Tozen last year sued at the Tokyo Labor Commission. Wakabayashi was reportedly outraged that the labor commission in Tokyo, not Ibaraki, would adjudicate, since it meant that he had to come to Tokyo several times any way.

The meirei verdict orders Heart to “engage in collective bargaining in good faith toward an agreement over the dismissal and unpaid wages without insisting on Mito as the venue.” It also suggests Tokyo as the venue for collective bargaining session number 1.

Heart may well appeal the ruling to the Central Labor Commission. Management might want to consider that carefully, however, since that commission is also located in Tokyo. Although Tozen here scored yet another victory, the dismissal has yet to be overturned.