Saturday, November 30, 2013

Union insanity: French-style

Then there are the Frenchies.  Economy is flat.  Growth non-existent.  Jobs are desperately needed. So..... what does the government and the unions do? Team up to abolish jobs.  The Wall Street Journal reported in September:

PARIS—A Champs Élysées cosmetics store that attracts six million people a year, nearly as many as the Eiffel Tower, has become the new front line in France's battle over working hours.

French luxury-goods giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said Monday that it would fight for the right to continue keeping its flagship Sephora perfume and cosmetics store open late at night, after a Paris appeals court ruled that it must close at 9 p.m.

The appeals court said the chain breached work-time regulations by hosting customers until midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends at its store on the famous Paris avenue.

Under the ruling, the store will be obliged to begin closing its doors earlier within 10 days, Sephora said.

The question of store hours has long been a contentious subject in France, with retailers, particularly in Paris, saying that flexible hours help them tap into business from tourists.

Advocates of more-limited hours argue that allowing employees to work late or on Sundays can hurt the country's social fabric, preventing families from spending time together. (They will have much more time to spend together if they don't have jobs.)

Other stores on the Champs Élysées have stayed open beyond 9 p.m. for a number of years. Recently unions have been filing complaints against retailers for staying open late on the avenue or elsewhere in the city. The union cited grocery store Monoprix as well as Apple Inc. —which isn't on the avenue—and a number of other stores in Paris.

According to a copy of a judgment provided by unions, a court ruled in March that Apple was no longer allowed to open its Paris stores after 9 p.m. Apple declined to comment. Apple's store in the Opera district of Paris lists its closing time as 8 p.m.

Groupe Casino, which owns Monoprix, wasn't immediately able to provide information on the store-hours matter.

Last year, French home-improvement store Bricorama was forced to close its 32 stores on Sundays in the greater Paris region, due to restrictions on Sunday hours.

Sephora said its Champs Élysées store does about 20% of its business after 9 p.m., and 58 members of staff work the late evening shifts. Previously the retailer had said it may have to cut as many as 45 jobs if it were forced to close earlier, a warning that resonates with some as the French government continues to grapple with high unemployment and weak economic growth.

The retailer said it was looking at the fallout of Monday's ruling on its workforce, and had decided to take the matter to a higher court....

Unions opposed to late opening said Monday's ruling vindicated their cause.

"This decision encourages us in our battle," said Eric Scherrer from the CFTC union, part of a group of retail unions that brought the case against Sephora before the courts. "What those companies are doing is illegal," he said.

On Monday night at 10 p.m. local time, hundreds of people were browsing the rows of perfumes and makeup at Sephora's Champs Élysées store. Some with strollers and kids, some exiting with big bags, others just fetching a spray perfume.....

Ahead of Monday's ruling, employees at the Sephora store voiced their discontent at the unions' move to prevent late opening.

"We want to continue working in the evenings," said 177 workers who signed a petition, published as a one-page ad in several newspapers and paid for by Sephora. Article

Here is video of Sephora employees going home in tears after being told  they could not work:

The American Spectator had a few things to say about this bout of union insanity in a recent article.  By the way, French unemployment is at 11%. 


Anonymous said...

This is a model for Obama to pursue for sure. Don't be surprised. If Eric Fleming were still in the MS Legislature he'd be rubbing his chin too.

Anonymous said...

Those Sephora employees looked HORRIBLE. Astonishing that people TRY to look like that. Those plucked-to-death crack-whore eyebrows on the women, and the square black glasses on the men - plus those silly little metrosexual haircuts - tell me to RUN from the Cosmetics Counter.

Anonymous said...

Quality of life is important also. Finding the right balance
is difficult. Should we be glad retailers are now opening on Thanksgiving and Christmas, even if it means a few
more work hours ?

Anonymous said...

Consumer economies have long hours for the counter workers. Its like the groceries and bars in open everyday unless workers convince the owners(Sneaky Beans, Hal n Mals, Rainbow) to close Thanksgiving weekend. Try that with corporations like Whole Foods. Even McDades closed after 2PM on Thanksgiving Day.

Anonymous said...

There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty.
M Thatcher

Vive la Liberté

Anonymous said...

"I am aristocrat. I love liberty. I hate equality" said John Randolph. Modern translation: "I make more money than you. I love to spend it on the day of my choosing. I'm better than you."

Col. Reb Sez said...

The unions are just trying to get the government to enforce already existing laws.

I love shopping at midnight, on Thanksgiving, and so forth. But it comes at a price. My personal opinion is that we would do well to limit retailers' hours in the U.S. When everyone participates in various holidays it makes for a more cohesive nation.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time...not so long ago that those of us over 60 don't remember it...stores and businesses were closed on Sundays and none stayed open until 9 pm.
Oh, there were manufacturers and essential services that had shifts but even those shifts allowed for a family life. Military families moved but the culture on bases developed support systems for wives and kids to feel connected and have a sense of community.

The thought was Sundays were to be a day of rest and worship and time with family.

Not only that, but families weren't uprooted for business purposes but lived out their lives in communities until the joke was IBM stood for " I've Been Moved".
Families thrived and so did our economy. Now we throw the families into new environments where they have to try to relearn cultural differences in a new environment.
Freedom wasn't just about making money but about the freedom not to be at the mercy of your employer's demands on your time.
It's odd that we argue " family values" but don't seem to think developing roots and a sense of security has anything to do with how well our children thrive.

Group-Think said...

"My personal opinion is that we would do well to limit retailers' hours in the U.S. When everyone participates in various holidays it makes for a more cohesive nation."

Straight from the mouth of a Harvard aristocrat, or maybe a Belhaven Sophomore.

However, if it was sarcasm, Touche'. God I hope it was not seriously written.

Anonymous said...

God I hope that you aren't serious 7:25 am when you choose to imply that being educated ( whether it's Harvard or Belhaven) is a negative.
Who are you? Spiro Agnew reincarnated?
The day we started thinking knowledge was less valuable than feelings in our National discussion was a very bad day in our society.
Every dictator starts his tyranny with killing the intelligentsia for a reason!

Anonymous said...

9:11 The point made by 7:25 was that education does not equal common sense:

“Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

― George Orwell

Anonymous said...

"When everyone participates in holidays it makes for a more cohesive nation."

This is probably the most succinct explanation I've seen of how totalitarianism begins. The sheer, glib obliviousness of it is just precious.

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