Say what you will about the French, their workers have the balls ours don’t.
[W]hen managers at the U.S.-owned Caterpillar factory [in Grenoble, France] refused to negotiate under pressure, workers recalled, resentments that had built up during several years of increasingly sour labor relations suddenly boiled over. About 40 employees invaded the executive suite, locked five top bosses inside and said they would be released only after resuming talks on the strikers’ demands.
…The latest detention took place Thursday, when workers facing layoffs at a printer plant near Strasbourg run by Faure et Machet, a Hewlett-Packard contractor, confined their bosses in a meeting room for about 12 hours and forced them to continue negotiating on a severance package. Previously, a 3M executive in Pithiviers was held overnight after announcing layoffs, as were the head of Sony France in Pontoux-sur-Ardour and three expatriate British bosses in a Scapa Group adhesive tape plant at Bellegarde-sur-Valserine.
Meanwhile, the UAW keeps asking Chrysler and GM, “How much more do you want us to cut our pay, Mr. Boss-man? Beat me, beat me.”
The hostage-takings, a specifically French reaction to the worldwide crisis, have been denounced as illegal by President Nicolas Sarkozy. But they have been widely applauded among the French people — and in some instances have brought results. Most of all, they have dramatized the extent to which, in France perhaps more than anywhere else, the perspective of class struggle remains lodged in many people’s minds and shapes the way they view the economic crisis.
But we don’t have class struggle here, because the GOPers tell us that’s un-American. The fact that upper 5% of Americans have seen their incomes soar while the middle class incomes have declined in the last 8 years, well, that’s because we haven’t given enough tax cuts to the rich so more crumbs can trickle down to the rest of us.
Beat me, beat me.