On May 11, the SLAP suit filed by social medical-care corporation Yamakikai against three union members–along with other accompanying lawsuits–was withdrawn, in a settlement that was a complete victory for the union!
The specific lawsuits that were withdrawn in this settlement were (1) the suit for damages that Yamakikai filed against three union members for their union activities in April 2020; (2) the countersuit filed by the union members against this; and (3) the suit filed in order to void the Prefectural Labor Commission’s order in February 2022 that said Yamakikai’s suit itself constituted an unfair labor practice. With these three lawsuits all withdrawn, the Commission’s epoch-making order, proclaiming that “a SLAP suit against union activity is an unfair labor practice”, has become final!
The union-busting had already been going on a long time, since just after the union was formed in 2013. In April of 2020, with COVID-19 starting to spread, the union proposed a cease-fire in their dispute; but Yamakikai refused. The union then had no other choice but to send and distribute a demand letter to the Nishinari Medical Association. Yamakikai then sued three members of the union, claiming damages of \3.3 million. The union filed a complaint at the Prefectural Labor Commission, saying that SLAP suits against union activity were an unfair labor practice. The Commission issued the following order:
“The right of any person to sue in court over a civil incident is not to be denied…, the Labor Commission… must tread warily in doing anything to restrict this. However, even though it is a right, it is not guaranteed without limit. The Three Rights of Labor are guaranteed by Article 28 of the Constitution; based on the intent of having a system for unfair labor practice complaints set up by the Labor Unions Act, it is possible that certain limitations may have to be set. For example, when there are special circumstances, such as constituting an abuse of the right, then it may be allowed to be judged an unfair labor practice”.
The Yamakikai case is currently still under investigation by the Central labor Commission. Collective bargaining is also being carried out regularly within the workplace. Thank you for your continuing support!
(Care Workers’ Union, Yamakikai Branch)
Update: On June 12, victory order given by Osaka Prefectural Labor Commission! Union members win withdrawal of punishment!