General Union Executive Officers

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I joined the union in October 1994, four months after I arrived in Japan. I was originally a workplace activist like many of our members and I organised a union at GEOS and was the branch chair. I have also had the pleasure of working as staff at the General Union, both full- and part-time, and have a chance to work with members in all kinds of workplaces across Japan. Hope to meet all of you. *

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This is Simon Cole. He is a vice-chair of the union and takes care of universities and schools. He has been too busy to write this.

(We forgive him.)

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guex 3 r ian photo guex 3 r ian title
I've been a member of the union for more than 20 years. It has helped me in my own workplaces and I've helped others in theirs. The older I get, the more I see the necessity of solidarity. My interests include ongoing training for teachers from language schools to universities. I also believe that we need to build solidarity with our Japanese colleagues if we are ever to improve working conditions. 

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guex 4 g joseph photo guex 4 g joe title
I'm from the U.S. and I've worked at the same language school in Japan for over 10 years. I joined the union because I wanted to ensure teachers' at my workplace were being treated with reasonable amounts of respect and dignity, and to help create a better workplace for myself and my co-workers. Each person who joins helps ensure better working conditions for all. 

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guex a toshi photo guex 5 a toshi title
I have known Mr.Yamahara, the founder of the General Union, since decades ago. I have served the union for several years and it is my honor to be part of this union because it is quite ordinary and, therefore, a really good union! It faithfully inherits the legacy of the labor union movements which came before it - in combination with modern technologies. I'll keep doing whatever I can for this union.

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guex bucky a guex b aaron title
I joined the union when a friend's advice convinced me that I'd rather be the sort of person who joins with others in trying to change things, than stay the sort who keeps to himself and complains about them.

Also, having been a long-term believer in the idea of unions and organizing, I decided I should put my money where my mouth was.

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guex c rebecca photo guex c rebecca title
I have been a member of the General Union for about 20 years. I believe in workers' rights - and human rights - for which unions are a force for improving, maintaining, and achieving.

I hope to do my part in a larger cause.

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guex h nathan photo guex h nathan title
I joined the union to literally pay my dues. The union got me shakai hoken, and it was time to pay the union back for what it got me. I started to learn that a lot of the things I may have taken for granted - like paid holidays, social insurance, and pay increases - were a direct result of union work. I didn't want to just sit back - I wanted to take an active part to help others. 

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In Japan, your right to negotiate with your boss is only recognized when done through a union. With the General Union behind me, I can stand tall in my workplace knowing that my boss and I are on a more equal footing. Join the union, and I will stand behind you, too (although at an appropriate distance that respects your personal space). Union membership - it’s good for your posture. 

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guex m charles photo guex m charles title
I've worked in education for 13 years and have seen how working conditions have declined. Witnessing all these unfair and bullying labor practices from companies, I couldn't take it anymore. I had never been unionized before; but here in Japan, what do we know about labor rights and how can we protect ourselves and fight injustice? The union negotiates better terms and working conditions for all of us.

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guex m john photo guex m john title
I've been a member of the General Union for more than 5 years, and a member of the executive committee for most of that time. The union secured a five-year contract for me and my colleagues, protected us from unfair overtime demands, and forced Gaidai to enroll us in social insurance programs. These are just some of the benefits I have received from the General Union. I hope I can help others.

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Years in the Union: 7. I'm in this union because I have seen first-hand how standing alone is of very value. Employers try to intimidate people into agreeing to unfair working conditions and fire them when they like.

Only by doing what we do as a union can we keep speaking out against unfair practices while having our rights protected!

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guex t willie photo guex t willie title
I grew up in Chicago, which is one of the most strongly union affiliated cities in the United States. As a result, I'm deeply familiar with what unions are capable of in terms of securing rights and benefits for all workers (and the only example of trickle-down economics that works). As Tokai chair, I'm available to help local members and affiliated branches as needed, and strive to do whatever I can to help.

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guex y katsuji photo guex y katsuji title
In order to take promote the Japanese labor union movement and to develop it further, I joined the establishment of General Union in 1991. Ever since then, I have been a part of the history of this union through both victories and defeats. Although I suffered from a disease recently, my spirit remains the same. I will keep trying to contribute to the development of this union as long as I can.

Additional information