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Plant closing ethics root in American law

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The harsh consequences of the American plant closing epidemic in recent years on workers, their families, and their communities, has raised widespread ethical and moral concerns. In the early 1970s, a diverse group of academics, social activists, public policy analysts, and special interest organizations developed a number of legislative proposals designed to restrict closings by law. The proposals encountered many formidable obstacles in an increasingly hostile free-market environment. The business community was itself moved to assume some of the burdens precipitated by closures either unilaterally or through collective bargaining. At the same time, powerful business interests tenaciously fought the enactment of mandatory closing restrictions into law. Nevertheless, through a prolonged and tortuous odyssey, the requirements of advanced notice and worker severence pay have now begun to root in law. Their success stands as evidence of a continuing American public policy receptivity to ethics-driven concerns.

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Dr. Peter E. Millspaugh is an Associate Professor of Business Legal Studies at the School of Business Administration, George Mason University, located in Northern Virginia outside of Washington, D.C. His articles and book reviews have appeared in: Academy of Management Executive, New England Law Review, Saint Louis University Law Journal, University of Toledo Law Review, Pacific Law Review, The Uniform Commercial Code Law Journal, Business Law Review, The Labor Law Journal, The Corporation Law Review, Business and Society, The Detroit College of Law Review, The Real Estate Law Journal, The Journal of Corporation Law, Business Horizons, The University of Baltimore Law Review, The Journal of Labor Research, University of Detroit Journal of Urban Law, Loyola International and Comparative Law Journal, Seton Hall Legislative Journal, Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, Business and Society Review, The Government Accountants Journal, Public Contract Law Journal, The University of Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law and numerous Proceedings of national and regional conferences of the American Business Law Association.

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Millspaugh, P.E. Plant closing ethics root in American law. J Bus Ethics 9, 665–670 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00383393

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  • Public Policy
  • Collective Bargaining
  • Business Community
  • Policy Receptivity
  • Moral Concern