Alta Gracia – The Only Union-Made, Living Wage College Apparel

What Is Alta Gracia?Alta Gracia

Alta Gracia, a project of Knight’s Apparel, is the first and only union, living wage factory producing apparel for colleges and universities. A result of years of struggle by workers of the former BJ&B factory in Villa Alta Gracia in the Dominican Republic, the factory opened last spring.

What is a Living Wage?

A living wage is a wage that provides families with enough money in order to live comfortably. Working a standard workweek at Alta Gracia, its workers are able to feed their families, send their children to school, and improve their living conditions. Workers at Alta Gracia make $2.83 an hour, more than three times the Dominican living wage of $.84 an hour. While this may not seem very much to Americans, it is in fact a very substantial amount of money in the Dominican Republic.

Why is Alta Gracia Significant?

Alta Gracia represents a new standard in the apparel industry. For years, apparel executives have said that sweatshops must exist for companies to stay viable. However, Alta Gracia shows that companies can afford to pay a living wage to its workers and stay viable. Since the factory opened, the community of Villa Alta Gracia has been revitalized. Construction has picked up as workers improve their houses, and formerly struggling shops are now thriving as workers now do not have to buy food on credit.

Solidarity’s Response to Alta Gracia

AU Solidarity stands with the workers of Alta Gracia. While the university bookstore already stocks some products from Alta Gracia, we feel that the university has a moral obligation to source as much as is possible from Alta Gracia. We call upon the bookstore to match Duke University’s commitment of $250,000 of orders from Alta Gracia.

Want to Learn More?

AU Solidarity will be hosting a discussion with workers from the Alta Gracia factory on Thursday, Feburary 10th at 7:30 pm in Ward 1. Pizza will be served at the event. Following the discussion with the workers, there will be a panel discussion with a representative of Alta Gracia, a representative of the monitoring group the Workers Rights Consortium, and a student organizer from United Students Against Sweatshops.