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 FACC-Chicago                                                                                            May 2014
Read this publication on www.facc-chicago.com.

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New Members!


RNI Conseil
Violaine Chaumont

Agility Gil Americas
Fabio Gottardelli

To learn more about FACC-Chicago membership, visit our Membership Page. 

FACC-Chicago Upcoming Events

  Thursday, June 5th   


Business Breakfast Seminar 

Tuesday, June 10th 

Monthly Members Luncheon 

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What a month May was!!


You should have just received the communication En Photos of our Première Chicago French Innovation Week, certainly a week to remember thanks to all of you who contributed and participated to the week-long events organized by the FACC in collaboration with the French Organizations in Chicago.

We had the pleasure of inaugurating the Chicago French Innovation Week at the Chicago French Market, in the presence of Alderman Fioretti for the ribbon cutting ceremony in front of our Marché booths as our vendors gave life to the Ogilvie Station Concourse during a week. With special thanks to Messieurs Bensidoun and each and every vendor at Le Marché for participating to this new adventure!

The Groundbreaking ceremony at the new Lycée site was a moving experience to the +500 parents and friends who watched as balloons were thrown in the sky by the Lycée children to celebrate the moment.

The Alliance Française Woman's Board Gala was, as always, a Grand Evening in celebration of Monte-Carlo and the Red Carpet Spirit. The FACC was present with its own table headed by FACC President, Juan-Luis Goujon.

Even French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius joined the Chicago French Innovation Week event organized by the Consulate, Ubifrance, Invest-in-France and The French Trade Advisors (Conseillers du Commerce Extèrieurs) at the Merchandise Mart as Valeo's CEO Françoise Colpron was demonstrating the company's automated valet parking system, which allows drivers to send their vehicles to park themselves from their smartphone.

Two Pop-Up cocktails welcomed our guests at Fabulous design Locations: Ligne Roset in their pristine downtown store (440 N. Wells) and Lalique at their grandiose new Showroom on the 6th Floor of the Merchandise Mart.

The 3rd edition of the French-American Science Festival including its day-long Hands-on Science learning and 2 evening conferences was held at Northwestern University and The Alliance Française

And of course I hope you were able to enjoy several of the very special Chicago French Innovation Restaurant Week Dinner Menus offered by our French Restaurants... We thank them all for making this first week happen!


And on the closing night of the Chicago French Innovation week, Frèdèric Lefebvre, Former Minister and current Member of Parliament representing the French residing in North America, joined our President, Juan-Luis Goujon and Graham Paul, Consul General of France in Chicago to thank the American veterans present with their families as we were commemorating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day at the Sofitel for the 22nd Edition of La Nuit des Etoiles.


MERCI to all of you for this first and extraordinary Chicago French Innovation Week....

Until next year!


Before we enter summer (and seasonal temperatures?), we are delighted to announce that Anthony Lacoudre from WeiserMazars' New-York French Desk will be in Chicago for the latest update on the French Tax Reform and a 4th Business Breakfast Seminar on June 5th at the Hilton Suite.

Join us also at our next Sofitel Monthly Luncheon as we will welcome at least 3 of the 4 newly elected local Conseillers Electoraux, our guest speakers this month on June 10.


And as we celebrate L'Etè in Chicago, I am delighted to confirm that our Professionals Networking is returning to the Sky Terrace at the Ivy Hotel (233 E Ontario St) on June 18 for the duration of the summer.


A bientôt!


Bien amicalement,


Ms Emmanuèle van Houdenhoven

Executive Director



FACC2.FACC Activity


Ivy Sky Terrace Lake View Ivy Sky Terrace Skyline View


June 18th,2014


The Ivy Sky Terrace

Ivy Boutique Hotel - 16th Floor

233 East Ontario Street

Chicago, IL    


$10 for Members  

of FACC-Chicago, DAC, GACC Midwest, BABC,IACC  


$20 for Non-Members

*admission includes appetizers*




W4W Red and Blue



At the end of 2011, the FACC-Chicago created W4W, the FACC Executive Women's Committee. The mission of W4W is to create a strong network, aimed at sponsorship and active support for women, to help open doors to growth opportunities and counsel women through career valleys and peaks.


FACC-Chicago W4W has organized a breakfast seminar about Best Practices for gender compositions on Corporate Boards in France and the US in September 2013 and is currently working on a future event.


The second mission of the FACC-Chicago W4W is its on-going Mentoring Program aimed at professional women in need of assistance with their career advancement, either because they have recently relocated to Chicago, are rejoining the workplace after a break or are relocating to France from Chicago.


The program pairs a candidate with one of the volunteer Mentors and the support provided is about networking, identification of opportunities and understanding cultural differences. The program is free for FACC members who need to apply. For more info, go to http://www.facc-chicago.com/about-us/committees/  




Since its inception, the program has helped several professional women in transition. You will find below the testimonial from Murielle Chakalov who was mentored by Axelle Brand ( from Scheider Electric):  


"I was lucky enough to be selected by the W4W  Mentoring Program. I really appreciate the support Axelle provided me at a difficult time for me. I followed my husband in Chicago and was looking for a job for 2 months. She overcame the same challenges and succeeded. She gave me hope. After each of our meeting I felt filled with energy all over again and confident that I will find the right opportunity.


The biggest challenge for me was to get my Resume read by the right people, people who are able to understand my path and ready to meet me. The keys are good preparation and resilience.


After 6 months of intensive job search, I am now a Program Manager at Motorola Mobility (part of Google Group). My position at Motorola perfectly fits into my career plan. I feel now that our experience in Chicago as a family is complete. With the balance restored, we can now make our move to Chicago a long term living.


More than a Mentor, Axelle is now a friend and I am eager to share with new Mentees my experience, my connections and what I learned in the process."

Learn More 

3.IllinoisIllinois Economic Breaking News

Manufacturer relocates from California to Galesburg


May 8th


By Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity



GALESBURG-Governor Pat Quinn said today that Pegasus MFG Inc., a supplier of precision parts and assemblies for many types of manufacturers, will move to Galesburg, where it plans to hire at least 17 people.


Pegasus is relocating from Morgan Hill, Calif. The Illinois Department of Commerce and  Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has approved tax credits for the company that are contingent on the new jobs and a capital investment of at least $1 million in Galesburg.


"We welcome this dynamic small business to Illinois," Governor Quinn said. "Pegasus has customers across the country and we are glad it has found the Illinois advantages of location and transportation to be irresistible. We also are proud to help a business that is woman-owned."


Pegasus' other options were to move to Texas or stay in California. Ruth Whitehead, chief executive officer of Pegasus, said, "Ultimately, we selected Illinois for many business factors, but one key element is the dedicated work ethic of the people, coupled with their willingness to do whatever it takes to get a job done. This culture is the best kept secret of the state."  


By Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

  • Illinois had the 5th highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the U.S.
    Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis (2013)
  • Illinois ranked 19th in the world in total GDP 
    Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • Illinois ranked #4 in the number of the nation's largest companies on the 2012 Fortune 500 List that are headquartered in a state (32) 
    Source: CNN Money
  • Illinois ranked #3 among all states and Chicago #1 among all metropolitan areas in locations for new and expanded corporate facilities.....


Groupon Among Worst-Ranked Sites for Password Security

May 22th

By NBC News

As online users continue to face password and security threats, most recently highlighted by this year's Heartbleed scare, it has become even more important to ensure your passwords aren't so easy to crack.

According to a new survey from Dashlane, a password management company, many of today's popular websites, including Chicago's Groupon, aren't setting the bar very high when it comes to password requirements.

The study used 22 password criteria to judge more than 80 websites and researchers found more than 86 percent had "subpar" policies.

Many failed to implement even the bare minimum standard security practices, leaving consumer data across the web dangerously susceptible," Dashlane said in a release.

Learn More 



Job retention collective bargaining agreements  

A subtle formula that avoids cumbersome restructuring and collective layoff Social Plans (PSE)

(Act no. 2013-504, June 14, 2013, Art. 17; Labor Code, Art. L. 5125-1 to Art. L. 5125-7)


Starting on July 1, 2013, compensation, hours worked and how work is organized and distributed may be temporarily modified by a

"majority"collective bargaining agreement whenever a company is faced with serious economic problems : a Job retention collective bargaining agreement (JRCBA)  Employees who refuse to go along may be terminated on individual economic grounds. Therein lays all the subtlety of the Act.  There is no need to set up a Social Plan, even if more than ten employees are terminated in a single 30-day period or over three consecutive months, or if eighteen are terminated in a single calendar year.


 a) Circumstances in which a JRCBA can be signed

Signing a JRCBA cannot be considered unless the business is faced with serious, cyclical economic problems
(thus ruling out structural problems). The employer bears the burden of proving that the problems are cyclical, and therefore temporary, and are not structural problems due to a lack of investment, or management decisions

This determination is made by the employer and is submitted for review to the labor unions representing the firm's employees, which may be assisted by a CPA retained by the Works Council to provide support in their review of the determination and in negotiations.


b) Majority voting requirements for JRCBA

As an exception to normal rules for CBAs, JRCBAs must be signed by one or more
trade union organizations which have received at least
50% of the votes cast (instead of 30% normally) for representative unions (unions are considered representative when they have received at least 10% of the votes), in the first round of the most recent elections to the Works Council (
WC), the Sole Personnel Delegation (SPD), or the Personnel Delegations (PD).


c) Exceptional rules governing the execution and validity of the agreement where there is no shop steward

Where there is no shop steward, the agreement can be executed by:

  1. one or more elected personnel representatives designated by one or more representative trade union organizations in the industrial branch, failing which, at the national and cross-sector level;
  2. in the absence of elected personnel representatives, one or more employees specially designated by one or more representative trade unions in the industrial branch, failing which, at the national and cross-sector level. In the last two cases, to be valid, the agreement requires a majority of the votes cast by the employees in accordance with its provisions, and with the general provisions of the Electoral Code.

d) Scope of application of a JRCBA

The agreement may regulate and adjust the following, for employees in threatened jobs:

  1. hours worked,
  2. how work is organized and distributed,
  3. compensation.

A JRCBA may not call the following into question:

  1. the minimum legal salary (Labor Code, Art. L. 3231-2) or that provided for by the applicable collective agreements (Labor Code, Art. L. 2253-3),
  2. compensation that is less than or equal to 120% of the minimum wage (i.e., €11.32 as of January 1, 2013),
  3. provisions governing the legal limit on working time and overtime (Labor Code, Art. L. 3121-10 to L. 3121-36, L. 3122-34 and L. 3122-35),
  4. the right to time off (Labor Code, Art. L. 3131-1 to L. 3132-2), holidays (Labor Code, Art. L. 3133-4) and paid vacation (Labor Code, Art. L. 3141-1 to L. 3141-3).

e) Mandatory provisions of a JRCBA

The agreement must:

  1. Specify its term, which may not be greater than two years.
    During the term of the agreement, the employer may not terminate the employment contracts of employees to whom the agreement applies on economic grounds,
  2.  Specify how managers operating within the scope of the agreement, corporate officers and directors and shareholders can make a contribution that is proportionate to that which employees are being asked to make (e.g., a reduction in managers' compensation),
  3. Include a penalty clause, which applies when the firm fails to fulfill its obligations, in particular those relating to the retention of jobs.  Those breaches may be punished by the payment of damages to employees who are harmed.  The amount and terms of the damages are set in the agreement,
  4. Specify how changes in the firm's economic condition will be monitored and how the agreement will be implemented,
  5. The consequences for employees of an improvement in the firm's economic situation (during or at the end of the agreement).  This is a sort of "return to a sound financial position clause", the scope of which will be open to discussion.
  6. The deadline and procedure for an employee to accept or reject the application of its provisions to his or her employment contract,
  7. The procedure for informing employees about the agreement's application and monitoring.  In the absence of specific provisions on how employees are to be informed, or how they can accept or reject its provisions, the ordinary process set forth by the Labor Code will apply : The employee must be informed by registered letter, return receipt requested, of those provisions which concern his or her employment contract, and of the fact that he or she has one month to make his or her rejection known.  If the employee fails to reply within that time period, he or she will be deemed to have accepted.

f) Effects of a JRCBA

Those clauses of the employment contracts of employees who accept a JRCBA, which are contrary to the agreement will be suspended for the period during which the agreement applies (i.e., a minimum of two years).  These safeguards go well beyond the scope of ordinary law:  such employees cannot be terminated on economic grounds during the continuance of the agreement.

Employees who reject the agreement will be terminated in accordance with the provisions governing termination on individual economic grounds, which qualifies them for the support measures provided for by the agreement.  With the exception of that requirement, the employer is under no obligation to follow the procedure governing mass layoffs based on economic grounds, or to draw up a Social Plan (called a PSE in French), regardless of the number of employees who refused to have the agreement apply to their employment contract.

g) Grounds for the suspension of JRCBA

A JRCBA may be suspended by a court order, issued in summary proceedings upon application by one of the agreement's signatories, if: 

  1. the undertakings that were made, and in particular those concerning job retention, are not fairly and seriously applied, or
  2. there has been a significant change in the firm's economic condition.
In that case, the court will set the length of the suspension.  Based on information subsequently provided to him, he may resume the agreement or terminate it, using the same procedure.  If an employment contract is terminated, notably as a result of the judge's decision to suspend the agreement, the employee's

severance pay, compensation in lieu of notice and unemployment insurance payment provided for by statute or by the applicable collective agreement, will be based on the employee's compensation at the time of termination or

on his or her compensation prior to signature of the agreement, if greater
.  (Labor Code, Art. L. 5125-6).


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For Further Information:  

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Illinois' computer services-related industries overtake high-tech manufacturing employment 


May Report


by Illinois Innovation Index 

As digital technology has become a fundamental component of business operations across industries, Illinois' tech economy is increasingly characterized by growing employment in computer- and Internet-related services and publishing. ISTC's analysis of new Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) data on high-tech industries found that over the past decade, Illinois' economy has generated more than 16,000 new jobs for Web developers, programmers, and other computer-related occupations-and that two-thirds of these jobs are located in Chicago. This recent growth in Illinois' IT and Web publishing industries offsets the decline in other high-tech industries such as high-tech manufacturing, where losses are commensurate with the widely documented shrinkage of the US manufacturing sector. In the scientific and R&D services industries, engineers with expertise in emerging technologies remain in relatively high demand compared with other occupations, supporting the continued growth of the state's innovation ecosystem.  

Learn More 



Emanuel gets new chief spokeswoman

May 22th

Chicago Tribune


There's a changing of the guard in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's communications office, with chief spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton being replaced by Kelley Quinn, who moves over from a similar job in the city Finance Department.

"I'm going to take some time off, recharge and travel during the summer," Hamilton said today, noting she's had a lot of high pressure jobs with little time to refresh.

Before going to work as Emanuel's communications chief in December 2011, Hamilton worked at the Chicago Police Department, as senior press secretary for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and deputy director of communications for former President Bill Clinton's foundation. She also is a veteran of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. 

Learn More 


Rauner offers few details on pension crisis

May 22th
Chicago Tribune

Early in 2013, as Bruce Rauner was still mulling a run for governor, the Republican businessman said he was working hard on a plan to fix Illinois' broken pension system. "We are doing a lot of research on that topic and we have some good ideas coming," he told WTTW-Ch. 11 back then.

Fast forward 15 months and Rauner, now the GOP nominee and a fierce critic of the pension overhauls pushed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, says he's still working on that alternative.

"We are doing all the detailed analysis now and we'll discuss that when we unveil our plan," Rauner said when asked to explain his pension plans after a campaign event Monday. He did not say when to expect that unveiling.

Learn More 


Online Sales Open for Taste of Chicago Concerts, Chef Experiences
May 22th

By NBC News 

Tickets for one of Chicago's most popular summer events went on sale Thursday.

Online ticket sales for the Taste of Chicago's Petrillo Music Shell concerts and the Celebrity Chef du Jour dining experience began at 10 a.m. at tasteofchicago.us.

Admission to the Taste -- which runs July 9-13 -- is still free, but tickets are required for concert seating and celebrity chef events. 


Some of the musical acts at Grant Park this summer include Janelle Monae, Nickel Creek and Jeff Tweedy. Tickets start at $18.

The Pure Leaf Celebrity Chef du Jour events includes three- or four- course sit-down meals with chefs including Art Smith, Paul Virant and Mathias Merges. Tickets are $45.

Learn More 


Improved bike routes coming to Chicago suburbs

May 25th

By Chicago Tribune  


"We're close to that being complete," said Tom Murtha, senior planner with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. "There are still gaps, but the gaps are very small compared to what's been completed. We're very close to being able to go, mostly by trail, across the region."Transportation experts say northeastern Illinois is on the cusp of completing a system of bicycle routes that could soon allow safe and nearly continuous biking across the region - from Indiana north to Wisconsin and west past the corn fields.

"We're close to that being complete," said Tom Murtha, senior planner with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. "There are still gaps, but the gaps are very small compared to what's been completed. We're very close to being able to go, mostly by trail, across the region."

4.EventsEvents and Ads

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Phone: 312-578-0444 · Fax: 312-578-0445
 information@facc-chicago.com · www.facc-chicago.com