Les Grèves

grever /gʀəve/ transitive verb

to be a burden on [pays, contribuable];
to put a strain on [budget];

grève /gʀɛv/ feminine noun(cessation du travail) strike;être en ~ to be on strike;se mettre en ~ to go on strike;déclencher un mouvement de ~ to take industrial action;
Les greves, well, there ya have it folks.  The word "grever"as a verb means to cause a burden on group of people or a country and as a noun it means to go on a strike. So... yes, we hear both words quite frequently here in France these days.  Many of my friends, family members and followers have asked me how I have been effected by the strikes in Paris.  Honestly? It hasn't been that big of a deal.  As my host parents told me at the beginning of all of this, "the French like to induce fear."  And I think it's been just that for the most part, lot's of rallying and rambunctiousness.  In the past few weeks we have seen lots of Metro wall ads scribbled over with spray painted messages concerning the retirement debate.  
The issue with retirement here is that, like the rest of the world, France is having financial issues (although you would never know it by the amount of shopping that takes place here...) and one of the ways to cut back on public spending is to raise the age of retirement by two years. Not ten, not twelve, not twenty... two.  That is what the fuss is about and that is why some people are  so upset. What is a bit funny is that the people who are most riled up about it are teenagers and college kids... guess they are having a little run with their feelings of French nationalism, solidarity and security.  I think their hormones are just raging. 
Nonetheless, I thought I'd post some photos that I took of the only "manifestation" that I've seen. 
Okay, well, not gonna lie, it was fairly intense. But it was mostly just lots of shouting. 
People who have been effected: students.  Well, unlike me, American students who are trying to travel. They have been greatly effected because transportation has really slowed down quite a bit. Peoples' flights and trains have been cancelled last minute and my room mate was even stuck really late at night the CDG aiport.
Also, non-greve-participating students have been effected by overly exuberant university students who have protested in front of their schools to the point that no one can get inside the buildings.  But... I haven't seen tons of tables blocking the doors to get into my  university so... yeah... it's all good.