Excellent New Report on Alta Gracia
October 16, 2014
I want to share with you a highly informative new research report on the Alta Gracia project, from two prominent business scholars at Georgetown University.
As you know, the Alta Gracia factory is the first export garment facility in the developing world that pays a genuine living wage to workers – about three times the standard wage in the Dominican Republic, where the facility is located. This, combined with the factory’s respect for workers’ right to organize and its exemplary compliance with other university code standards, has made Alta Gracia a beacon of progress.
The WRC, which helped launch the project and has been involved throughout its development, continues to monitor labor compliance vigorously, while also working to educate observers globally about the example Alta Gracia sets. While it is increasingly recognized in the garment industry that living wage is the proper labor standard, we have seen little progress toward actual payment of a living wage. Where commitments have been forthcoming from brands and retailers, these have generally been vague and aspirational – with no specific wage level defined. The Alta Gracia example is thus especially relevant at this time: it demonstrates that living wage can be clearly defined and operationalized and it shows the sweeping impact that a living wage has on the well-being and life prospects of workers and their children.
The Georgetown report, by Professors John Kline and Ed Soule, reviews these topics in depth, reporting on labor conditions at the Alta Gracia factory; outlining, with concrete examples, the human impact of the living wage; reviewing Alta Gracia’s current performance and future prospects as a brand and as a business; and examining broader labor rights and code compliance issues through the lens of Alta Gracia’s success. The authors’ views and conclusions are, of course, their own. I don’t agree with all aspects. However, I find the report to be carefully researched and the analysis incisive. I highly recommend that you give it a read when time permits.
I am also including links below to two good news stories on the report, one from MSNBC and the other from Huffington Post.
Alta Gracia’s achievements would never have been possible without strong support from universities and we are hopeful that this support will continue and grow. As always, please let me know if you have thoughts or questions about this material.
Worker Rights Consortium
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