Dominican Republic: Garment factory pays living wage, guarantees freedom of association & benefits

Author: Milli Legrain, The Guardian, Published on: 14 February 2019

"'Dignity and respect': Dominican factory vows to never be a sweatshop", 14 February 2019

 ...Alta Gracia, a US-owned garment factory in the Dominican Republic... was founded in 2010 when Knights Apparel, a leading supplier of college-logo sportswear joined forces with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), a labor rights not-for-profit...

Scott Nova, executive director of WRC, believes Alta Gracia is “the only apparel factory in the global south to pay a living wage”...Workers can freely unionize, have access to medical insurance and get a minimum of 14 paid vacation days... workers are employed throughout the year, unlike many garment factories that dispense with their temporary workers for weeks or months at a time...

But... Alta Gracia has yet to prove its sustainability as a business... Chris Morocco – who took over as CEO in April 2018 – is confident the company will be profitable by the end of 2019...

Barnes & Noble College has stood behind Alta Gracia since the company’s inception.

...the factory’s union leader admits he has difficulty believing that investors were willing to keep a company going for nine years without making a profit. “Nobody thought this would last more than a year,”... But recent changes have made him apprehensive. “There have been several layoffs recently and the new quality manager is unreasonably strict.”...

Both Morocco and Adriana Báez, the plant manager... vow there will be no further downsizing and that the strategy for 2019 should do the rest. “It is part of our culture. Our people are our most valuable asset,” says the new CEO.

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Related companies: Alta Gracia Barnes & Noble Fanatics Knights Apparel