| April 2010|
Zenkoku Ippan Tokyo General Union (全国一般東京ゼネラルユニオン, Zenkoku ippan tōkyō zeneraru yunion) is a Japanese labor union. Known as the Tokyo General Union, or Tozen (東ゼン, Tōzen), it was founded on April 25, 2010 by Louis Carlet, Dave Ashton, Tony Dolan and others. It is a general amalgamated union, and thus does not restrict membership by industry.
However, Tozen's members tend to be from the publishing, banking, universities and foreign language teaching industries, with most members located in the Kanto region.
The executive president is Hifumi Okunuki.
Tozen Union was created by a defection of a group of foreigners and some Japanese members of National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu. The NUGW is an older union which traces its roots back to 1956, with the founding of Jōnan Chūshō Gōdō Rōdōkumiai (城南中小合同労働組合).
In 1994, the National Union of General Workers Tokyo South was formed, then renamed NUGW Tokyo Nambu in 2003. In 2004, the Foreign Workers Caucus was formed inside Nambu, which would eventually come to have 11 local branches.
On April 25, 2010, six of these branches voted to separate from Nambu and form Tozen.
Tozen obtained official corporate registration in July 2010, according to its own website.
While Tozen uses General Union in its name, it is not affiliated in any way to the General Union, Fukuoka General Union and the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Nambu. Tozen and General Union both have locals/branches at Gaba, Nova, Bunsai Gakuen, Shane, Berlitz and Interac.
Tozen has a number of local unions at different workplaces, including: The Japan Times, Linguaphone, Philippine National Bank, Syndicat des Employés de l’Institut Franco-japonais, Lyceé Franco-japonais, Sophia University, Gaba, Japan College of Foreign Languages, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Simul Academy, Coco Juku (Nichii Gakkan), Mitsui Fuso, Apple Japan, NCC and Shane English School. Tozen also represents ALTs at various companies as well as university workers and teachers.
Tozen is an activist union and has taken action through the courts and industrial relations bureaucracy a number of times as well as engaging in strikes, leafleting, demonstrations, rallies and freedom of information campaigns. Tozen President (former Paralegal) Hifumi Okunuki began in February 2012 a column in the Japan Times called Labor Pains, in which she details famous labor law court cases.
Tozen was cited by the U.S. State Department's human rights report on Japan for the union's long campaign to enroll teachers in shakai hoken health and pension insurance. Tozen also spoke with political activist Noam Chomsky in March 2014.Tozen YouTube Channel #1
Tozen YouTube Channel #2
Tozen YouTube Channel #3
Democracy Now Interview with Tozen President
Democracy Now Interview with Tozen Field Director