Every 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
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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Common grace for the common good. Thanks, John. The hard reality is that human flourishing actually requires a more complex bottom line, over the long haul.
The one serious caveat is that this wage is coming from outside and this is not a localized business. I see this as a “flaw” in the long term plan.
I agree, John, and therefore not sustainable over time. A year or so ago I wrote this, after reading about a comment Bono made to some high tech business group in Dublin. http://www.washingtoninst.org/2783/bono-on-business-2/
@JohnA1949 in the US publicly traded companies could/would get sued for that unfortunately – not concerned for “investor value”
Somehow my post above has the name of the company misspelled. It is correct in the title but then the ext begins with Alta Garcia and it should be Alta Gracia. Ugh.
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