Sewing Hope offers the first account of a bold challenge to apparel-industry sweatshops. The Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic is the anti-sweatshop. It boasts a living wage three times the legal minimum, high health and safety standards, and a legitimate union-all verified by an independent monitor. It is the only apparel factory in the global south to meet these criteria. The Alta Gracia business model represents an alternative to the industry's "race to the bottom" with its inherent poverty wages and unsafe factory conditions. Workers' stories reveal how adding $0.90 to a sweatshirt's production price can change lives: from getting a life-saving operation to reuniting families; from obtaining first-ever bank loans to getting running water; from purchasing children's school uniforms to taking night classes. Sewing Hope invites readers into the apparel industry's sweatshops and the Alta Gracia factory. Learn how the anti-sweatshop started, how it overcame challenges, and how the impact of its business model could transform the global industry.
Sarah Adler-Milstein is a worker-rights advocate and has served as the Field Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC). John M. Kline is Professor of International Business Diplomacy at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He is the author of four books, including his textbook Ethics for International Business.
Preface 1. The Difference between Heaven and Earth Introducing Alta Gracia 2. From Factory Favorite to Fighter Human Cost of the "Race to the Bottom" 3. Risky Proposition, Unlikely Alliance Founding a New Factory 4. Ideals into Action Building an Anti-Sweatshop Model 5. Escaping Scripted Roles Unexpected Benefits of a New Approach 6. Stories of Transformation Diverse Impacts of a Living Wage 7. Surviving on Our Own Adjusting the Business Model 8. Replication or Revolution Alta Gracia in Context Afterword: Taking Action Acknowledgments Notes Bibliography Index About the Authors