In Yokohama, Japan on July 29-31, 2012, the National Confederation of Japanese trade unions, ZENROREN, held its 26th Convention. During the two-year period since the last convention, Japan experienced disastrous earthquakes and a devastating tsunami, plus the melting down of a nuclear reactor at the Fukushima plant. ZENROREN and its 1.2 million members have been organizing support for the stricken areas and campaigning for the elimination of all nuclear plants. The confederation is also fighting against government austerity measures, such as a plan to undermine social security and double the sales tax from 5 to 10 percent through a new bill called “Social Security and Tax Reform Bill”. The convention emphasized the struggle for decent and stable employment through organizing in Japan and strengthening international solidarity.
1199SEIU was among hundreds of labor unions worldwide to send a message of solidarity to the convention participants. The union’s message follows:
Dear Zenroren Sisters and Brothers,
On behalf of over 350,000 members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, we write to convey solidarity greetings on the occasion of your 26th convention. We salute your leadership and commitment in the struggle to rid the world of nuclear weapons and achieve true disarmament. We fully support your struggle for a nuclear weapon free world, and for eliminating all nuclear plants in Japan. In unity, we also support your resolution to promote a “Mass Campaign for Safe and Secure Japanese Society.”
In fact, in New York, we are engaged in a fight to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant. Eighteen million people live or work within 50 miles of the plant, which faces bigger risks from an earthquake than any other American nuclear plant. Two different earthquake fault lines cross just north of Indian Point, leading New York’s Columbia University to conclude that it is the worst location for a nuclear plant in the New York metropolitan area.
Your convention takes place at an important moment in history, marked by a global economic crisis and triggered by actions of the 1% -- the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the world -- and shouldered by the 99% -- dedicated working people. We share your commitment to unite and organize a fight-back movement against far-reaching reductions in the economic, social, and democratic rights of union members and all working people.
You have our steadfast support as your partner in organizing for a better future at home and in the community.
George Gresham Maria Castaneda