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Staying Silent

May 15, 1988

I was surprised in reading James Flanigan's April 27 column, "Debate over Plant Closings Misses Point," to see that even he (whom I have admired for having more objectivity than almost all his colleagues) refuses to mention the real reason that employers/proprietors cannot offer two months, one month or even two weeks of notice to employees facing a plant shutdown. Not one of the critics of the proposal has, in my readings anyway, had the nerve to describe the condition that forces employers to give the shortest notice possible.

You have no idea of the chaos such a notice brings. Good old Joe Six-Pack understandably becomes obsessed with the need to ensure his future well-being somewhere, somehow. His productivity drops drastically, his resentment takes many forms, the least of which is ugly bad-mouthing of the organization in an attempt to "get even." Invariably petty theft abounds, if not downright sabotage.

Why don't any of our great public servants tell it like it is instead of dumping the need to veto plant-closing legislation on the shoulders of the chief executive? Of course, I knew the answer to that before I voiced the question, and it is a sad, sad commentary.

BRUCE GRAHAM

Port Hueneme

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