The Zenkoji Daikanjin Bunkai is the first labor union for Japanese Buddhist temple workers.
The fledgling union, comprising a handful of monks and other temple workers in Nagano, was created to facilitate collective bargaining for pay raises and better employment conditions. Trade union leaders believe the monks’ labor activism will quickly spread to other temples because disputes between monks and more senior religious leaders are not uncommon.
The founding of the union stemmed from a lawsuit filed by a monk, a follower of the Tendai sect of Buddhism, who was severely disciplined for criticizing a high priest. His fellow monks accused the temple of treating him in a way that fell outside his contract and then approached labor officials to form a union.
(Source: Times of London, Feb. 17)