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Eight major clothing retailers, among them Liz Claiborne, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger, agreed to settle a federal class-action lawsuit brought by garment workers in the Northern Mariana Islands. In the $5.7 million settlement, retailers agreed to compensate workers who claimed they'd been underpaid and overworked in sweatshop conditions and to fund an independent monitoring system to guard against labor abuses. The lawsuit was filed in January 1999 on behalf of 30,000 workers, mostly women recruited from the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Thailand. The agreement brings to 17 the number of retailers that have settled in the case for a total of $8 million. Litigation is still pending against others.

Xerox Corp. was expected to announce it will cut about 5,000 jobs and take a first-quarter charge of at least $500 million, analysts said. They projected that the charge would cover the costs of both severance packages and a cutback in manufacturing. The Stamford, Conn.-based company has been struggling with stepped-up competition and a reorganization of its sales force. In 1998, it eliminated about 9,000 jobs and took a $1.1 billion charge.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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