Schools closed, flights were delayed, trains again weren't running, and newspapers weren't printed as civil servants joined transport workers in strikes Tuesday to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy's program of sweeping reform for France.
A defiant Sarkozy said voters gave him a mandate for reform when they elected him in May, adding: "We will not surrender and we will not retreat..."
He reiterated his determination to press ahead with the pension reform that prompted labor leaders to call the open-ended strike. But he also suggested that he is not looking to crush unions in the reform process.
"I do not want a winner and loser," Sarkozy said.
The walkouts looked increasingly like the last gasp of a protest movement that started with train drivers but seems to be losing some punch after a week of major travel disruptions.
Is this the kind of country the American Democrat party wants, one where people go on strike whenever they want? Is this the kind of country the American Left wants, where unions hobble the very economy the President is trying to shore up with reforms?
Those unions are behaving like spoiled children and monopolies, both of which they are.