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French Labor Protests Are Crazy, and Surprisingly Effective

They tear the clothes off corporate managers, kidnap their bosses, and booby-trap factories

Only about 8 percent of French workers belong to labor unions, one of the lowest levels of the world’s developed economies. In the U.S. about 11 percent are union members.

But no country rivals France when it comes to the tenacity, the ingenuity, and often the downright nastiness of its labor protests. In the latest episode, a mob of Air France workers on Monday tore the clothes off two executives leaving a management meeting, in a protest over planned layoffs.