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Lawsuit Targets Wal-Mart

Los Angeles, Alawsuit filed Tuesday accuses Wal-Mart Stores of failing to monitor labor conditions at overseas factories that allegedly maintained sweatshop conditions. The suit seeks class-action status and claims Southern California grocery workers were harmed because Wal-Mart’s low prices, made possible by the alleged substandard overseas factories, forced competing grocery chains to cut wages and benefits.

Beth Keck, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said the company has not seen the lawsuit but had begun researching the issues it raises.

The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court in Los Angles under California’s Unfair Business Practices Act. It was organized by the Washington, D.C.-based International Labor Rights Fund. The suit seeks a jury trial and unspecified compensatory damages. It was filed on behalf of two classes of plaintiffs. The first includes factory workers in a variety of overseas locations, including China and Bangladesh. The second group includes California grocery workers at stores such as Ralphs and Vons.

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