Sewing Hope: New Book Explores Alta Gracia’s Impact
October 17, 2017
I am writing to let you know about the publication of Sewing Hope, a new book that provides valuable insight into the impact and evolution of Alta Gracia, the unique living wage factory that produces university logo apparel in the Dominican Republic. The authors are Professor John Kline of Georgetown University and the WRC’s own former Field Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Sarah Adler-Milstein. Sewing Hope is available directly from the UC Press or from Amazon and other booksellers.
Unlike any other factory in the Global South that makes university logo products, Alta Gracia pays all workers a living wage – three times the minimum wage – and has committed to fully respect workers’ freedom of association. The WRC has unfettered access to verify compliance with these commitments and all applicable labor standards. Over the past seven years, we have seen how living wage paychecks have transformed the lives of workers and their children, bringing decent food and housing, reliable health care, and new educational opportunities within their grasp.
The authors weave together engaging personal stories, key details of each stage of the factory’s development, and analysis informed by John’s on-the-ground research and Sarah’s direct experience as the WRC representative charged with verifying Alta Gracia’s compliance with its living wage standard. The book provides a comprehensive look at the factory’s origins, initial operation, business plan adjustments, and impact on workers, their families, and their community. In addition to the thorough case study of Alta Gracia, the book explores the context for this project, the “race to the bottom” of global supply chains, and how Alta Gracia is helping to carve a different path.
Alta Gracia’s unique commitment to living wages makes it an exemplary case study in how buyers and factory owners can choose to do business differently. Sewing Hope, published by the University of California Press, represents an important contribution to the public conversation about socially responsible business and supply chains. It also provides a helpful reminder of the impact that universities can play in catalyzing positive change in the garment industry.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions regarding this email, or if you would like to discuss how Sewing Hope can be used on campus to increase awareness of the challenges of worker rights in supply chains.
Worker Rights Consortium