Guess might lose its spot on Labor's 'good-guy' list Garment-maker accused of wage, overtime abuses

November 29, 1996|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES -- For the first time, a U.S. Labor Department program to highlight apparel companies taking extra steps to shun sweatshops has instead singled out a suspected slacker: Los Angeles-based Guess Inc.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that it put Guess, the leading garment manufacturer in Southern California, on probationary status with the agency's "Trendsetter List" of "good guy" garment makers and retailers.

The wage and hour division said four Southern California contracting shops that sew garments for Guess were judged to be violating minimum wage and overtime requirements.

Guess said the censure was based on flawed evaluations.

The disclosure came as the Labor Department named 17 new companies to the year-old Trendsetter roster, an announcement timed to reach consumers before the holiday shopping season.

Government officials hope the list will evolve into a strong publicity tool to prod apparel retailers and manufacturers into policing working conditions at the legions of contracting shops where their products are stitched.

Many retailers and garment makers privately say that so far few shoppers take the Trendsetter List into account.

But other industry observers noted the uproar triggered this year when factories sewing clothing lines for TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford were discovered illegally underpaying workers.

Pub Date: 11/29/96

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