France gets closer to a general strike
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Author:  ZoWie [ Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  France gets closer to a general strike

Macron is trying to change France's labor code, which is written in a manner that only the French can do. In other words, lots of rules, and a major firewall between work and life.

The response is also something that, probably, only the French can do. It's not officially a general strike, but the trend is in that direction. Unionization is actually relatively low in France, so Americans can't blame the unions. It's a French thang.

The resulting strikes are also, in general, done the French way. They last a couple of days, then back to work for a few days, then lather rinse repeat.

Railroads are out two days out of every five for the next three months. All four unions are in on this one. Disruption is total. Paris had 260 miles of traffic jams. That's giving L.A. a run for it.

Air France has cancelled 25% of flights due to a job action.

Some waste treatment plants have wildcat disruptions, with blockades to keep other workers out. Imagine if that happened in the US. The conservative reaction would look more like Krystallnacht.

Similar actions are planned in energy facilities.

Students have gone out in sympathy. (Of course, this week is Easter break anyway.) There have been the usual results when young demonstrators and cops get together.

Macron's party issued an official statement that their goal remains to, "rid this country of its strike culture."

To that, I say good luck.

Author:  gounion [ Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: France gets closer to a general strike

We need to get back to a strike culture. What we need are some general strikes. And, the law does give some protection to strikers, especially if they aren't in a union - believe it or not! While giving workers the right to unionize, the National Labor Relations Act also puts a lot of restrictions on unionized workers. They can't do sympathy strikes, and while they are under a contract, they aren't allowed to strike at all - so-called "wildcat strikes" are illegal under the act.

Except that they are all legal if you aren't under a union contract. So, you can do city-wide strikes, sympathy strikes, and intermittent strikes.

What the right did, was start weakening the NLRA concerning worker rights, but kept the teeth in it for unions themselves. So, sometimes I think we should just dump the NLRA, and see how things work without it.

Author:  ZoWie [ Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: France gets closer to a general strike

General strikes are direct action, and they get the job done.

Far as "strike culture" goes, I do hope that's a bad translation. Otherwise, Macron is a shit, and unfortunately the only viable opponent is an outright fascist.

What I know about strikes in France is that they are frequent, they never last long, and in general they look more like what we'd call a job action. One of the more lefty unions seems given to planning little rallies where 20 people briefly leave their work and march all clumped around a banner, surrounded by about 50 cops. The cops all come in those little blue vans and park them all over, making a much bigger disruption than the strikers. You cross the street or else the cops stop you. When you try to explain that you're an American visitor and you stay out of French politics, they say "En Francais," even though their English is probably not that much worse than yours. Anyway, strikes seemed to be something that people accept and live with, like traffic jams in L.A.,

I can sort of remember being a kid and there being a "strike culture" here. I recall there would be times when picket lines would appear at markets, etc, and then there'd be more trouble getting food and whatever. With my lefty parents, you didn't cross picket lines, and that's all there was to it. That all seems gone. Now they get three people to stand in the public street in front of some huge mall or whatever with a banner saying "Labor Dispute," and no one even knows what they're talking about.

I am reminded of the port truckers in San Pedro. They had no strike culture, but now they do. A lot of work, largely "en Espanol," went into getting them organized. They were mostly Latino immigrants with green cards, and they really got shat on by the shippers. There was no union. Eventually, they all stopped working a couple of times, and that shut the port down tight. When the port shuts down, capitalism shuts down, and the old Anglo white men in suits listen.

I don't know where it is with those people right now, but I do know that now port truckers are taken seriously and listened to.

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