Ex-Goldmanites Are Unionizing in Japan

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Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., listens during a speech at the CARE conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 9, 2011. Blankfein agreed to be a prosecution witness in Galleon Group LLC co-founder Raj Rajaratnam's insider trading trial this week, said a person briefed on the matter. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo: Bloomberg/2011 Bloomberg

Perhaps high-financiers and stevedores have more in common than just complaining about salaries: A former employee of Goldman Sachs in Japan has decided to form a union, reports the Times, though it's unclear how many others are along for the ride.

“I would just like to be treated as human,” said the former employee, who said he was recruited by Goldman Sachs straight out of college and worked in operations before being laid off in August. He said Goldman Sachs representatives pressured him at combative meetings to take a six-month severance package, a sum he said was inadequate.

He appeared at the press conference in a mask and refused to give his name or nationality, only saying that he was not Japanese and using the pseudonym “Adam Lee.” He said he was concerned that identifying himself would jeopardize his chances of getting future jobs in finance.

Apparently, there's a decently strong legal case, given Japan's strong protection of workers' rights. Goldman Sachs can't prove it's on the verge of bankruptcy, no matter how bad last quarter was, and that's one of the requirements under Japanese law for a company to justify layoffs. The real question, though, is if he doesn't feel like a human, does Lee feel like ... a muppet?