Bread & Roses: Worker Rights in the Age of Coronavirus

SNA (Tokyo) — Last Friday, the Covid-19 global pandemic passed the horrifying milestone of one million infections and 50,000 fatalities worldwide. There have, as of this writing, been 4,592 confirmed cases and 106 deaths in Japan. Graphs of new cases and deaths trace the left half of steep parabolas as the world’s nations fail to flatten the curve. The global catastrophe and its grim toll traps workers between the closing jaws of infection risk and dire economic straits. As US commentator Krystal Ball noted, “the working class has been shoved into the front lines of this crisis.”

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シェーン英会話講師の逆転勝訴、司法誌労働判例のトップを飾る。Tozen Teacher’s Victory Over Shane Makes Top Story in Prestigious Judicial Review Rodo Hanrei


Tokyo High Court ruled that an employe cannot desginate paid leave without a written roshi kyotei agreement with the employee rep; and that Shane mangement had no such agreement.

Tozen Union member Adam Cleeve had a reasonable expectation to renew his contract, and his strike related attendance issues cannot be considered when refusing renewal.

The court overturned the dismissal, ordered Shane to take him back to work, and pay 2.5 years of lost wages.

The article is behind a paywall, but if you’re interested please check it out.

Bread & Roses: Warm Meals to Tackle Poverty in Japan

SNA (Tokyo) — When did poverty become normal? Conventional wisdom had it that poverty didn’t exist in Japan; that the miracle recovery during the country’s rapid growth period had given birth to a middle class of 100 million people.

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東ゼン大学 Tozen Daigaku

東ゼン大学のお知らせ  2020年2月から毎月、日本の労働法についての講義を東ゼン大学の事務所で行います。 英語と日本語での講義で、最後に質問コーナーも行います。 定員が30名となっておりますので、お早めの予約をお願いいたします。出席できない方は、Youtube上でライブ配信も行いますので、ぜひチェックしてください (。 詳細は以下のリンク、またはチラシをご覧ください。

We will have Tozen Daigaku on Japanese Labour Law at the Tozen Union office every month from February. The lectures will be in Japanese and English. At the end of the lectures we will hold a Q & A session. Attendance is limited to a maximum of 30 people, so please reserve in advance. If you can’t attend, we will also live stream the events on Youtube ( Please check the link below to reserve your place for the first Tozen Daigaku.

We are also starting FREE Japanese lessons with a focus on Labour Law language every Sunday at 10:00am from 16/02/2020 at the Tozen Union Office.


東ゼン労組vs桜美林大学 Tozen Union Vs. Oberlin University

The members of the Oberlin University local


On Friday 17th January 2020, Tozen Union had its first hearing at Tokyo Labour Comission for the case of Oberlin University’s refusal to negotiate at Collective Bargaining. We have made a great deal of progress. Management has agreed to bring an interpreter to Collective bargaining so our members can communicate in the language of labor relations, which is English. The union and the university will meet over the next couple of weeks and attempt to set ground rules for collective bargaining sessions. While we have not addressed every issue, this hearing was a step in the right direction.  



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Bread and Roses: How Nakasone Crushed Japan’s Labor Movement

SNA (Tokyo) — Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone died this past November 29. During his tenure as prime minister from 1982 to 1987, he had deepened Japan’s subordination to the US hegemon through his Ron-Yasu Bromance with President Ronald Reagan. But to one middle and high schooler in the 1980s, he seemed to be the first prime minister to hold his own in friendly talks with the United States, almost as an equal.

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Shane Teachers Expand Strike

The last day before Winter Solstice (Dec. 21), Shane teachers upped the ante in their fight for job security, pension and health insurance, and a 3% pay hike.

In the wake of membership, growth, teachers at a dozen different schools lay down their chalk Saturday. Reports indicate schedule disruptions and cancelled classes.

Tozen Union and its chapter Shane Workers Union negotiated both on and off the record with the English language school but failed to make progress on demands, which included a union page in the Shane teachers bimonthly newsletter.

Management maintained its hard-line, making nothing more than symbolic gestures at concession.

Union teachers determined they had no choice but to muster their courage and strike both on Dec. 18 and then Dec. 21. The latter marked their largest strike in over five years of dispute.

At least one non-member joined the union just to participate in the strike.

Tozen Shane Workers’ Union signs Labour Management Agreement with Shane Corp.

Welcoming in the Reiwa era and the new President of Shane, Ishitani Yuya, Shane Workers’ Union are pleased to sign a Labour Management Agreement in what is hoped to be a new phase of improved relations between the Union and the Company.

The agreement guarantees the working conditions of union members and agrees to use Company paperwork when converting to permanent employment.

The agreement also defines a set of rules for collective bargaining which lays the groundwork for improved negotiations and a more timely and forthcoming approach from management.

While some issues remain unresolved, notably the official labour dispute and charges of unfair labour practices against union members, this agreement is a very positive step forward and the Union believes it is only a matter of time before a suitable settlement is negotiated and normal labour-management relations restored.