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UE Delegates at Eastern Regional Meeting with Japanese signs
UE Members Send Solidarity Message to Workers in Japan

April 20, 2011

Solidarity with Zenroren

On this May Day, we want to convey our union’s great concern and deep sympathy for the people of Japan as they continue to deal with the devastation and massive loss of life resulting from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

We especially want to convey our respect, support and solidarity to the leadership, affiliates and members of Zenroren, our good friends and consistent allies for the past decade and a half. Our members have met each other in worker-to-worker exchanges in both Japan and the United States, and shared experiences and lessons from their struggles.

UE Local 222 President Marie Lausch, who has traveled to Japan on several occasions on behalf of UE, organized a wonderful message of hope and solidarity to our sisters and brothers at Zenroren. From them she obtained the Japanese characters for peace, hope, strength and solidarity. With the help of other UE members and Andrew Dinkelaker, Regional president and videographer, we were able to send this video: . Check it out!

Over the years, Zenroren’s help and intervention has proved indispensable in several situations in which UE locals and members have been in very difficult struggles against employers in the U.S. owned by Japanese transnational corporations. UE has hosted Zenroren study missions and showed solidarity in various ways.

Zenroren represents many public sector workers including medical, government workers and teachers, and in April they organized nearly 200 volunteers including Zenroren staff members to engage in relief efforts in Tohoku. In May, volunteers will continue such efforts in Iwate and Miyagi.

UE has initiated a collection and on May Day we sent a greeting, along with the money that we collected and a short video which we hope will provide encouragement as Zenroren continues to respond to this terrible and tragic disaster with organized action, to save lives and to improve the situation for the victims and for the working people of Japan. In doing so, they are carrying on the best traditions of the international workers’ movement.

Shortly after the earthquake in Japan, UE posted a statement on our web site along with a link where people could contribute. Our regions have taken up collections at regional meetings and the national union has contributed $1000.

If you would like to join this effort, click here.


David Bacon

"The UE's relationship with the unions and workers in Mexico has shown that mutual respect, mutual benefit and equality is the real basis for solidarity."

David Bacon
Photographer & writer

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