Youth, Maturity and Old Age

Today was the last working day of the year. Our year-end ceremony started an hour earlier than usual, and we covered a range of exciting topics.

First up was the power of youth. Mr. I, who will be working in the U.S. from Jan. 2, expressed his enthusiasm about working there.
This term, he actively devoted himself to training in preparation for his time abroad. First he will study at Arizona State University to improve his English, and then he'll take up his work at ISOWA America. I look forward to his triumphant return after experiencing great personal growth.

Next up was the power of maturity. At the beginning of this month, four of our employees gave a presentation at Scholar Consult Co. about the ideal products and services that they wanted to provide. They did such a great job that I asked them to give the same presentation for us.

 They spoke about ideal products and services related to their positions and jobs, sharing the goal of “creating works” that we are now working on.

Some members of the technical division said after the ceremony that they were very glad all four speakers mentioned their project.

Last up was power of old age. They might get angry when they hear this, but after youth and manhood, what’s left but old age? And I know that I also belong to the “old age” category, so please forgive me.

Executive Director Mr. I looked back on the year and spoke passionately about safety in particular.
 Executive Director Mr. K brought the year to a close with “sanbon-jime,” the Japanese custom of performing three sets of rhythmic hand clapping at the end of a special event.

This year-end ceremony made me realize ISOWA’s strength in each generation – youth, maturity and old age.


Answer from the Union

At this time of year, many companies hold negotiations about winter bonuses with labor unions. The union files a request with the company, and then the company makes a response. That is how it usually works. And that was true of us, too. “That WAS? What about now?”
We suggested two years ago that the management first make a proposal and then the union discuss it. And so there is no request from the union now. That’s right – the management suggests a bonus amount to the labor union voluntarily.
We had to get it done by the first half of this week. That’s because it has become a tradition to pay the winter bonus on the first Friday of December. Actually, I intended to have a joint management council last Friday to submit a proposal. But I had trouble drawing up such a proposal.
Though we are doing very well this term, that trend probably won’t continue through next term. Under these circumstances, what amount should I propose and how should I explain that decision? I just couldn’t come to a conclusion. So I asked the union leader last week, “I haven’t made up my mind about what to do. I need something to give me a push. In advance of the next term that’s expected to be hard for us, I want you to convey how I feel to the union members and let me know their thoughts.”
And today we had an opportunity to hear the answer. When I entered the meeting room, I found everyone was standing and chairman A was not there.
“Where’s Mr. A?”
“He was so nervous that he’s gone to bathroom.”
Mr. A came back and the meeting began. At the beginning, Mr. A suddenly brought out those colored message cards that you can see in the picture.
“I decided to get every union member to write his/her thought on these cards after last Friday’s meeting.”
I heard they had meetings during lunch time on Monday and Tuesday in each division, where one of the union officials attended and asked the members to write down their thoughts towards the anticipated difficult term on the cards.
“At first, I worried how many members would participate. But their words filled the cards quickly. I can’t see why it always takes so long for circulars to go around,” said Mr. A.
"If they hadn’t been thinking seriously about it daily, they wouldn’t have been able to write that quickly, especially the freshmen. I’m so embarrassed when I think how thoughtless I was when I was their age.”
“It’s true that there were some who didn’t join us, but as for those who were in this project, I believe their words came from the bottom of their hearts.”
“All we can do is look ahead and work hard, once we have expressed our convictions.”
It was really touching, but I believe that very process of struggling and thinking something through is extremely valuable.
·         The union filed a standard proposal suggested by the governing body.


·         Instead of the standard union proposal, ISOWA’s union made its own proposal.


·         The management side makes a proposal instead of its union.


·         Before the company makes a proposal, the union expresses their intensions for the term to come.
Our negotiations with the union have been evolving over time, as mentioned above. Yet the meeting this time has taken it to the next stage, I think. Certainly those message cards from the union members gave me a powerful push.
After the meeting was over, Mr. N said, “I’m starting to feel that we are now at a new stage with the union officials. It felt like we were doing a cooperative project with them.”
Bonus negotiations will be a great place for us to share our goals, not just settle on the amount of bonuses. A new process has been designed.