Japanese Trade Unionists To Visit New Haven, Join May Day Rally And Take A New Haven Labor History Tour

by Peter Knowlton, President, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, Northeast Region

A delegation of union members from Zenroren, a pro-gressive independent labor federation from Japan, will be visiting New Haven April 29 to May 1 at the invitation of the UE (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, Northeast Region). Over 30 Zenroren members will be hosted by Mayor Toni Harp at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 30. They will be traveling to Gateway Community College later that day for presentations, touring the Sargent Lock Company (now Assa Abloy), and participating in other activities. They will join Connecticut trade union and community activists on May 1 for an annual May Day rally and march celebrating International Workers’ Day.


Members of UE and Zenroren

On the morning of Friday, May 1, the delegation will enjoy a labor history tour organized by the Greater New Haven Labor History Association with Joe Taylor, Aaron Goode and the UE. They will visit numerous sites including the Seamless Rubber Company, the railroad yards, the Amistad memorial, the Oyster beds near River Street in Fair Haven, the site of the old Olin-Winchester plant on Division Street, as well other venues in New Haven, possibly including the Troup Magnet School lobby, where there is a New Haven labor history mural. There will be a reception after the tour at 1:30 p.m. at the Council Teachers Building, 267 Chapel Street, for the Zenroren members, where the delegates will be able to view the Labor History Association’s new traveling exhibit, “Our Community at Winchester: An Elm City Story” and hear a brief presentation about it by the LHA Archivist/ Director and exhibit curator, Joan Cavanagh.

The Zenroren trade unionists are participating in an NGO conference and march, April 24-26, in New York City to coincide with the UN’s 5-year Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They will discuss their efforts to abolish nuclear weapons and to retain Article 9 in Japan’s Constitution which prevents Japan from ever again becoming a militarized state. It is under attack by the current Japanese government.

(Reprinted with permission. First published in the GNH Labor History Association April-May 2015 newsletter)