Alta Gracia Update: A Model for Living Wage, Workers’ Rights
February 8, 2018
The WRC is pleased to share with you its latest annual monitoring reportof the Altagracia Project factory in the Dominican Republic. As you know, Altagracia has committed to an exemplary set of labor standards, including the payment of a living wage, and has agreed to ongoing, rigorous monitoring and verification by the WRC. As in the past, the WRC again found the factory to be in compliance with Dominican labor law and with the special standards to which it has committed. While there was a small number of instances of noncompliance, Altagracia promptly and fully remedied these violations when they were identified through the WRC’s intensive monitoring, or in some cases through worker complaints directly to management.
Altagracia, which produces collegiate licensed apparel under the Alta Gracia Apparel label, pays its workers a living wage that is almost three times the wage earned by other garment workers in the Dominican Republic. The factory is a model of respect for workers’ freedom of association and it is unique in that it complies with all health and safety standards required by Dominican law. The company maintains open channels of communication with workers and worker representatives in order to address problems that arise, to remedy these problems, and to seek ways in which to make ongoing improvements that benefit workers.
The past year has brought several exciting developments for Alta Gracia Apparel. In October 2017, the experience of its workers was highlighted in the book Sewing Hope, authored by Professor John Kline of Georgetown University and the WRC’s former Field Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Sarah Adler-Milstein. The book, which is available from UC Press and Amazon, includes personal stories from workers and details the stages of the factory’s development. This book represents an important contribution to the public conversation about socially responsible business and supply chains and highlights the impact that universities have in bringing about positive change in the garment industry. Our former colleague Sarah was recently interviewed in The Atlantic regarding the book and her experiences with the WRC and Alta Gracia.
In addition, Alta Gracia Apparel announced a new partnership this past year with the university licensee 289C Apparel, Ltd. and its sister company, Dallas Cowboys Merchandising. The company’s CEO, Bill Priakos, said of the partnership that he was “proud to partner with such a leader in the industry.” More information about the partnership can be found here and here.
Altagracia’s impact on workers and their community has been transformative. The factory is unique in the garment industry for its commitment to providing a wage that allows workers to not only meet the most basic needs, but to provide a better future for their children. As it moves into its eighth year, the factory continues to set the standard for factories that fully respect workers’ rights and dignity.
As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments and will continue to report to you on monitoring compliance and other updates from Altagracia.
Worker Rights Consortium