College cancels show on unions as official objects

January 30, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

An article in The Sun Saturday incorrectly reported the source of the statement that Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc. Vice President Frank C. Peters had resigned from the board of a Dundalk Community College fund-raising organization. Deborah Layman Volk, who directs donations for the Weinglass Foundation, started by Merry-Go-Round Chairman Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, told The Sun that Mr. Peters had resigned from the board.

The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

Dundalk Community College pulled the plug this week on a television show about unions after a member of its fund-raising board complained about the show's discussion of union activity at his company.

College President Martha Smith said yesterday that she ordered the college's public access cable television station to stop airing a half-hour interview with two union officials who had been trying to organize workers at Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc.


Dr. Smith said she and other top college officials made the decision after Frank C. Peters, a Merry-Go-Round executive and a board member of a foundation that raises money for the college, called the college to "express concerns" about the program.

In the past year, the clothing retailer has been fighting an attempt by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union to organize workers at its Joppa warehouse. The workers voted overwhelmingly against union representation earlier this month.

Dr. Smith insisted in an interview yesterday that, although she made the decision after Mr. Peters' call, it was not a result of pressure from Merry-Go-Round.

Rather, she said, she and other top college officials decided to pull the program after viewing the program and judging that it did not meet the college's academic standards.

Merry-Go-Round has contributed financially to the community college, but it is not a major donor to the school, Dr. Smith said.

A foundation started by Merry-Go-Round's chairman, Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, donated $1,000 to the school in 1991, according to documents filed with the state.

Dr. Smith conceded that "on the surface" the events might lead some to wonder whether the college bowed to pressure from a wealthy corporation. But she insisted that money was not involved in her decision.

"Mr. Peters' concern was not the reason," she said. "I didn't think the show met our educational standards. . . . It wasn't balanced."

The interviews with two union organizers, Connie Brown and Joseph Danahy, had aired six times on the public access channel for Baltimore County, Channel 6, since it was taped in November, college officials said. Normally, the college airs such programs as many as 10 times.

The program, shown only in Baltimore County, was aired at various times during the day in January.

In addition, Dr. Smith suspended all taping of future shows of the series, named "The Labor Chronicle." The 3-month-old Channel 6 series had featured interviews of local union officials and labor historians.

Earle Shawe, an attorney hired by Merry-Go-Round to fight the union's efforts to organize workers at the company, said Mr. Peters, vice president and controller of the company, was out of town. He said Mr. Peters had resigned from the college fund-raising board Thursday.

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