Sweatshop Case May Grow
In a group of cases involving factory owners in the U.S. territory of Saipan, as well as major retailers throughout the U.S., the U.S. District Court in Saipan has issued an order that will allow as many as 20,000 workers to become plaintiffs. The suit involves charges of labor rights violations in Saipan, which is considered part of the U.S. for customs purposes, but has different immigration laws and a much lower minimum wage. The charges being brought against the defendants include requiring the payment by immigrant workers of large recruitment fees in order to obtain work, and the use of illegal quota systems that have the effect of indenturing workers.
See MARK MAGNIER, Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2001