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Striking Drywall Workers File 9 Class-Action Suits

September 04, 1992|DAVID REYES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LOS ANGELES — Striking drywall workers filed nine more class-action lawsuits Thursday against drywall companies for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and not paying any overtime.

The lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, bring the number of class actions against previous employers to 15, said Robert A. Cantore, a labor attorney who filed the actions on behalf of 1,000 striking drywall workers in Orange, Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino counties.

Cantore said he plans up to 100 more suits to prevent the sale of homes allegedly built in violation of labor laws.

Cantore said he will rely on a 55-year-old statute that allows the federal government to stop sale of products not built in compliance with labor codes.

Cantore's clients contend that they were forced to work 50- to 60-hour weeks but were denied overtime pay while building hundreds of homes in Southern California.

The U.S. Department of Labor has used the statutes to force apparel companies to monitor the labor practices of private contractors. In one recent case, Guess? Inc., Southern California's largest apparel maker, agreed to regularly inspect sewing shops of dozens of contractors to ensure that workers are properly paid and work under acceptable conditions.

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