BY ISN STAFF | November 17, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Workers from the Alta Gracia LIVING WAGE clothing factory ended their tour of the Midwest and the East Coast with an appearance at the 18th Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington, D.C. on November 8th. The workers had spent more than three weeks on the road visiting Jesuit colleges and high schools to draw attention to the importance of fair labor practices and ethically manufactured clothing.
The tour, sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network and Solidarity Ignite, included the following stops: Loyola Academy, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Loyola University of Chicago, Saint Louis University, St. Louis University High School, Xavier University, St. Xavier High School, St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy, John Carroll University, College of Holy Cross, Boston College High School, Boston College, Fordham Preparatory School, Fordham University, Saint Peter’s University, Saint Joseph’s University, Villanova University, Temple University, Loyola University Maryland, Georgetown University, Catholic Relief Services Headquarters, Gonzaga College High School, and George Washington University.
At each event, Alta Gracia workers Hanoi Sosa and Elba Nurys Olivo shared their experiences working for Alta Gracia in the Dominican Republic. Several events also featured discussions with faculty, administration, and students about how their institutions can better partner with companies that pay their workers a living wage.
Alta Gracia is one of the first companies in the Dominican Republic to pay living wages and allow unions in its workforce. In addition, Alta Gracia pays their workers more than 3 times the minimum wage for apparel workers in the Dominican Republic. Ignatian Solidarity Network partners with Ethix Merch to offer custom Alta Gracia T-shirts for ISN’s affiliate institutions. Ethix Merch donates to ISN for each Alta Gracia purchase made by an ISN affiliate.
On Facebook, tour manager Molly Gradowski celebrated the completion of the tour. “3,854 miles later and we are officially done,” she wrote. “Thank you to all of our old & new friends who met with us and received us along the way. The Alta Gracia story now lives with you and we hope you are able to become agents of change in your community as you continue to advocate for the human dignity of workers all around the world.”