Dennis Tesolat is chair of the General Union based in Osaka. Founded in 1991, the organization is part of a national private sector trade union known as Zenkoku-Ippan (the National Union of General Workers), which belongs to a confederation known as Zenrokyo (National Trade Union Council).

Most of the General Union's membership are English teachers in the Kansai and Tokai regions, though they also serve teachers across the country when possible. (Tesolat cites a recent success in which they represented assistant language teachers (ALTs) in Gifu Prefecture against the Mizuho City Board of Education.)

"History has made us a union specializing in education," Tesolat says. "We became strong in negotiations for teachers because our membership is mostly foreign teachers."