Monday, September 21, 2009

We Want To Emulate These Guys?

The health care debate often centers around France's much lauded system, but I think we all need some perspective on the French: their response to tough economic times is to get naked.

Their protest is the latest, and barest, effort by French workers to fight back at the economic downturn. Employees have locked up their bosses, threatened to blow up factories and blocked oil supplies in scattered incidents around France in recent months.

After receiving the news in June that they might be laid off, the workers at the Chaffoteaux factory took a creative approach to show their displeasure. The company, which makes gas and water heating equipment, is facing declining demand amid a slump in real estate sales and a shift in French households away from gas heaters.

Fifteen men who work at the factory in Ploufragan, 280 miles west of Paris, posed for the calendar. Five thousand copies were printed, and 2,000 had been sold at $10 each as of Monday, three days after they were made available.

Brigitte Coadic, the representative from the CGT labor union that organized the calendar, said the workers want to attract public attention to the layoffs in the hope that will help them in negotiations with the management.

"In contrast to classic responses to layoffs ... we aren't going to just accept fate," she said. The workers did not appear to be offering any solid solutions to the company's declining sales.

I mean, we'd all love to get naked and party, but as far as a business plan I think we can do better.

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