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Guess Ordered to Halt Alleged Coercion

June 20, 1997|(Stuart Silverstein)

Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Bruce Mitchell, responding to complaints that Guess Inc. and some of its contractors coerced workers to sign pledges to stay out of a lawsuit against the companies, ordered the concerns to halt the alleged practice. Mitchell, however, turned down requests by union-backed lawyers to also order Guess and the contractors to stop talking to workers about the lawsuit and to rescind the actions of the 400 or more workers who signed statements opting out of the litigation. Plaintiffs' lawyers accuse Guess and its contractors of a variety of sweatshop abuses, and they are seeking class-action status for the case to cover as many as 5,000 former or current garment workers. Guess denied the allegations and said the 400 to 500 workers opted out of the lawsuit because they don't support the allegations or the union, UNITE, which is helping to finance the litigation.

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