As is their wont, the French reject American culture while embracing and perfecting it, in their own inimitable way.
Take the example of unionization. France is widely unionized. You can hardly visit there without the garbage collectors or air traffic controllers or railway operators going on strike for this or that. They all work for publicly operated entities, which are in turn union strangled, oops, I mean controlled. Anyway, a one- or two-day strike makes for a nice little holiday, n’est-ce pas?
Here in the United States, we argue over card check and whether that should be allowed as the preferred option for union organizing.
In France, they don’t argue–they take hostages.
The latest example comes from the Molex Inc. plant in Villemur-sur-Tam. Owners are threatening to close the plant and have been negotiating with the union, but the union smells a rat, sensing that Molex wants to shift operations to China.
Hence the logical thing to do is take two executives hostage until the company agrees to leave the equipment and workers all in place.
So far, this sounds like a Gallic version of the Republic Windows and Doors stand-off in Chicago of late last year. There, employees staged a sit-down until they got their severance packages.
In France, we’ll just have to wait to see what happens.
Hostages are, however, treated civilly during these stand-offs. Last month, an executive held hostage at 3M was even treated to moules et frites (mussels and fries, a traditional dish) as a snack.
Like I said before, why check cards when you can just hold some hostages until you get what you want?
“Sign here to recognize our union, or we’ll keep you hostage until you do” works faster than gathering all those signatures.