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Major retailers settle garment factory lawsuit

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands — Target Corp. and J.C. Penney Inc. are among seven U.S. retail corporations that have settled a federal class-action suit filed on behalf of garment workers at 23 factories in this U.S. Commonwealth.

The three-year-old suit alleged violations of wage and hour laws and the denial of some workers' rights. It was filed on behalf of immigrant workers from nearby Asian countries who had been drawn to Saipan to work in the factories.

Under the settlement, the manufacturers and the retail group — which also includes Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Lane Bryant, The Limited, Talbots and 19 other retailers that previously settled — will make a one-time contribution to a fund that will finance ongoing monitoring of the factories in Saipan, compensate some 30,000 garment workers and pay attorneys' fees.

The total settlement is expected to reach $20 million. Retailers that previously settled the case will furnish $8.75 million of the payment, while the remaining seven and the manufacturers will split the bill for $11.25 million.

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