Related topics

London Fog To Shut Down Last Three Plants In U.S.

July 29, 1994 GMT

BALTIMORE (AP) _ London Fog Industries Inc., the famed maker of rainwear and trenchcoats, announced Friday it will close the company’s last three clothing plants in the United States by the end of October.

The factory shutdowns, which will put 700 employees out of work, mark a further erosion in the domestic textile industry as another manufacturer moves its operations abroad. London Fog said it costs $18 more to produce a coat in its plants than overseas. All three London Fog factories are in Maryland.

″In the end, if you boil through it all, it’s an economic issue,″ said Edward M. Krell, vice president of investor relations. ″Given the requirements of apparel manufacturers to provide a quality product at a competitive price ... we needed to do everything we could to get our manufacturing costs under control.″

Workers at the plants in Baltimore, Hancock and Williamsport were notified of the plant closings Friday morning, Krell said.

The company’s operational headquarters in Eldersburg, which is also its largest distribution center, will remain open, Krell said. About 640 employees work there.

London Fog was founded in Baltimore in 1922.

State officials, including two congressmen and Gov. William Donald Schaefer, had tried to intervene in a dispute between London Fog managers and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers to save the Maryland jobs.

″It was pretty obvious they intended to leave,″ said Welford McLellan, assistant press secretary for the governor. ″It wasn’t a question of what we offered. They can get cheaper labor and we can’t supply that. That’s a well- worn story.″

The company is still scheduled to meet with union officials the second week of August in New York, Krell said in a telephone interview from corporate headquarters in Darien, Conn. But he did not hold out much hope of reversing the decision.

″Although it is possible, we feel at this point the hurdles are too high to get over,″ he said.

London Fog and the union had been locked in a dispute for months over management’s request to the union to drop an arbitration case that hinders imports of London Fog rainwear.

The union had sought guarantees for its members’ $7.60-an-hour base-pay jobs beyond the October 1995 date offered by the company.

Carmen S. Papale, the top Maryland official for the union, was out of the office Friday and no other union officials were available.

Earlier this year, the company closed its sewing facilities in Portsmouth, Va., and Boonsboro, Md., and a cutting facility in Baltimore, eliminating 600 jobs.

Domestic plants now make less than 10 percent of London Fog’s products. The rest is contracted out to producers worldwide, Krell said.