Showtime at the Keihin Hotel (re-run)

A couple of months ago, Republic Windows and Doors was in the news with the employee standoff that stretched on for days before they successfully got the severance pay they sought. As the drama unfolded, I wondered whether this might move in a permanent directon. That is, they might look around the plant, and say “well, since we’re all here anyway, we might as well make some windows.” My reasoning was that they might as well be doing something productive while they were all hanging out at work, and that possibly they might somehow pull off the sorts of worker takeovers that have occurred in many Argentine workplaces, including the Hotel Bauen, which once hosted my parents during their visit to Buenos Aires.

As it turned out, this didn’t happen in Chicago in December. Imagine my surprise to learn last night that it had already happened in Tokyo, way back in October. It turns out that the Keihin Hotel was abruptly closed to pay off debt related to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, but the workers decided not to slink off into the night. As it turns out, there is a bit of a taboo against layoffs in Japan, since they are viewed as a violation of the loyalty given by employees. The day after they were fired, the workers showed up for work and kept running the hotel, which they apparently continued to do for about three months, until they were evicted by riot police in late January. Calling into question my blog title, there was one injury from the operation, which also resulted in a broken door.

Very interesting. I wonder how many other such events have been happening below the radar.

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