Following the IBM Japan union and considering the TPP.

The IBM Japan union occasionally posts at their website, where they have focused on the “lockout dismissals” of several union members. They are focused on keeping this issue in the forefront of Japanese politics, and prevent “American-style” management practices from taking hold in Japan. As you know if you read me regularly, there is no at will employment in Japan. Positions are either for a limited term, or without a limited term. In the latter, an employee can only have a job taken away for specified reasons that the law recognizes. Make more profit is not one of those reasons.

The site also posts about general worker issues. A big one that is coming up is the hike in the consumption tax (sales tax) from 5% to 8%. I happen to favor this development in the context of funding old age pensions, but it bears pointing out that, where people don’t get raises, they are about to take a 3% pay cut. For companies like IBM, which operate under perpetual wage freezes (it seems), in divisions in first world countries, this makes it tough for the workforce. The attitude of the company is that they can always send the work to China or Vietnam, so maybe that flat salary isn’t so bad after all, eh? (Of course, the company will still want the first world country’s markets open for IBM goods and services, but this fact never becomes part of the dialogue . . . )

You can read a search engine translation of the union’s post here.

The more I hear about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade treaty, the less I like it. In fact, I’m totally against it now. I see–and have experienced—exactly what these “global” companies with allegiance to no nation will do when the TPP “partners” agree that multinationals can shift the work to wherever they feel like. And keep the former countries’ markets wide open. All the jobs will end up in Vietnam. And we become the third world country, as is slowly happening under loose trade as it is.

It’s time to ditch the notion that these “free trade” treaties do any good for America. The other Asian countries are going to play hardball. Our negotiators are going to sell us out for their own personal, family, or crony interests—happens again and again when it comes to Asia.

Start talking about how bad TPP is. Let people know what’s going on, if they don’t even know the acronym.

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