Meeting fails to resolve London Fog labor dispute

June 30, 1994|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Sun Staff Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Despite the surprise attendance of London Fog Corp.'s chairman and chief executive officer, a meeting yesterday between company and union officials to head off the possible elimination of 700 jobs at three Maryland plants failed to make much progress, a union official said.

"We're at an impasse now," Carmen S. Papale, international vice president and the top Maryland official for the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, said after the meeting. "I'm hoping the company and union can get back together."

The two sides agreed to face each other again if a meeting is called by Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

As for yesterday's closed-door discussion with Chairman and CEO Arnold P. Cohen, Mr. Papale said it was "very tough."

"We didn't do as well as I thought we would," he said.

Mr. Cohen, who met with union representatives for the first time during the four-month labor impasse, would say only that the meeting provided "open, meaningful and direct communication" between the two sides.

The meeting was arranged by Rep. Kweisi Mfume, a Baltimore Democrat, and Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, a Western Maryland Republican, in an effort to save London Fog plants in Baltimore, Hancock and Williamsport.

"We continue to be involved and hope to move it as quickly as possible to a resolution," Mr. Bartlett said.

Mr. Mfume urged the state to step in as well. "The governor should use this opportunity to talk," he said.

However, while Mr. Schaefer is willing to call such a meeting, he must first see some change in positions by the two sides, especially the union, according to Mark L. Wasserman, secretary of the Department of Economic and Employment Development.

The dispute centers on the company's proposal to make Towne coats -- which have been made overseas -- at the three plants. One of the company's conditions for bringing in the new production is for the union to drop an arbitration case involving import limits.

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