Union workers protesting AAFES employment policy

Members of All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union are currently conducting a sit-in protest in front of the Ishinda Gate of Camp Butler in Kitanakagusuku. The sit-in started at 8 a.m. this morning, and the protest is scheduled to go on until 3 p.m. this afternoon.

The labor union is protesting changes the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) that manages restaurants and stores on base has made to its employment policy. According to protesters, AAFES now follows a policy that changes the status of full time employees who reach the retirement age to part time workers if they are rehired or continue their employment. The union says it’s unfair and illegal to change the status without the consent of the workers, if they continue same duties after their retirement.

About 100 members of the labor union are participating in the protest.  The same protest activities are taking place at Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture and Yokota Air Base in Tokyo at the same time.

The labor union is demanding AAFES to continue hiring all of its members at full time status adhering to the Japanese law for the Stabilization of Employment of the Aged that was revised and went in force in April, 2013. This protest activity of labor union members is their first since May 2013.