Western Europe: What Labor Wants, Labor Gets

Widespread unemployment once made Italian workers terrified of their bosses, but terror has turned to testiness. With jobs aplenty in present-day Italy, strikes are as common as wolf calls on the Via Veneto. Last week 800,000 textile and chemical workers struck to back demands that would push labor costs up 70%. Radio and TV employees entered the second month of a bitter dispute with management over higher pay and job reclassifications.

Roman commuters half expect bus drivers to walk out in the middle of the run, and a housewife never knows when she...