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CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE SETTLES LAWSUIT WITH FARM WORKERS

 CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE SETTLES LAWSUIT WITH FARM WORKERS
 WOODINVILLE, Wash., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Chateau Ste. Michelle


winery settled a lawsuit on Sunday filed by a number of past and present employees, the winery said today.
 Although the winery believed it would ultimately prevail in legal proceedings, the company decided to settle rather than incur a lengthy trial and substantial legal fees.
 Under the terms of the settlement, the winery does not admit any liability in the lawsuit. The company agreed to a monetary settlement of $120,000 to be divided among the 31 plaintiffs. Twenty-two of the plaintiffs are still employees. The winery employs up to 200 farm workers.
 "We're pleased that this lawsuit has been settled," said Chateau Ste. Michelle President Allen Shoup. "We look forward to continued good relations with our farm workers."
 The lawsuit was filed in the Yakima Division of the Federal District Court in 1991 by Granger-based Evergreen Legal Services/Farm Worker Division. The legal agency assists in the activities of the United Farm Workers of Washington State (UFW) which has called for a boycott of Chateau Ste. Michelle wines for the past five years.
 "The UFW has chosen Chateau Ste. Michelle because it is a nationally recognized brand name," asserted Mike Gempler, executive director of the Washington Growers League. "It's ironic because the winery is a highly
progressive agricultural employer." The league promotes good labor management through education and training to more than 600 member growers.
 Winery management reports that farm workers receive up to $9.30/hour. These workers also receive paid holidays, paid vacation, company-sponsored health insurance, worker's compensation and employee assistance programs. The average Chateau Ste. Michelle farm worker has worked for the company for six years.
 The settlement is in response to claims that the company wrongfully discharged three employees, failed to rehire two others, did not comply with certain technical record-keeping requirements of an agricultural worker protection act, and did not fully compensate certain work crews in 1988 and 1989.
 -0- 9/1/92
 /CONTACT: Mark Jennings of Chateau Ste. Michelle, 206-488-4617; or Mike Gempler of the Washington Growers League, 509-575-6315/ CO: Chateau Ste. Michelle; Washington Growers League; United Farm
 Workers of Washington State ST: Washington IN: FOD SU:


SC-LM -- SE004 -- 5528 09/01/92 15:10 EDT
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Date:Sep 1, 1992
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