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“THIS is how you treat people!” I proclaimed, a quiver in my voice.
Just before Christmas, 1995 a textile mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts was destroyed by fire. About 1,400 people worked at Malden Mills. The owner of the mill, Aaron Feuerstein, spoke before the employees’ days after the fire. “I am not throwing people out of work two weeks before Christmas,” was his famous line. Feuerstein then and there declared that he would pay his workers their wages, even though the mill was closed, and they could not work.
It was early in 1996 that an NBC News feature covered the incident. Feuerstein’s reputation as a beneficent corporate citizen soared. Feuerstein continued to pay his workers for months – without a product being produced – while the mill was being rebuilt. I showed that news story to my high school students for years, always ending with my line above, “THIS is how you treat people.”