GUESS GETS OUT

THE JEANS COMPANY, BESET BY RIVALS AND UNION ORGANIZERS, BOLTS FOR MEXICO

Slick and sexy, Guess?, Inc.'s long-cultivated image began turning seedy last summer. First, five contractors for the $500 million clothing empire were cited by California inspectors for illegal home-sewing operations. Then a class-action suit accused Guess and 16 subcontractors of paying their mostly immigrant workers less than minimum wage. Ornery picket lines spread from Guess's shop on Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive to its 66 other retail outlets across the country. And in a final one-two punch, the National Labor Relations Board forced the firm to rehire employees it had fired for union sympathizing, while the U.S. Labor Department nudged it off...

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