Alta Gracia – A Business Venture in the Developing World That Provides a Living Wage

about_workerEvery Sunday I record a program on PBS called “Religion & Ethics Weekly.” It is one of the finest programs I know on the major stories of the week in world religions. Several months ago I saw a broadcast that featured the story of Alta Gracia, an American company owned by a Catholic businessman in the U.S. Alta Gracia manufactures clothing. The owner is willing to make a smaller corporate profit in order to provide livable wages for his workers. He defines a livable wage as including the following:

Adequate money to provide for life’s essentials for an entire family: 

  • 3 Healthy Meals a Day
  • A Safe Home
  • Transportation
  • Healthcare
  • Education

The Workers’ Rights Consortium verifies that all workers at Alta Gracia receive a Living Wage, ensure that the workplace is safe and that workers’ rights are respected. Alta Gracia claims to be  the only clothing factory in the developing world that pays the people who make clothing a LIVING WAGE – more than 3X the minimum wage. 

 

Many of us have heard about the “name brands” and how they treat their workers in the developing world. (The worst stories report “slave-like” conditions.) Many celebrities have expressed shock when confronted with this reality but few of them have done anything about this problem. Alta Gracia is clearly different. I am so impressed with this story that I felt it worth sharing with my friends. You can see the entire story, as well as the PBS report that I saw on television several weeks ago, at http://altagraciaapparel.com.

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