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Sewing Hope

How One Factory Challenges the Apparel Industry's Sweatshops

Sarah Adler-Milstein (Author), John M. Kline (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 248 pages
ISBN: 9780520292925
October 2017
$26.95, £21.00
Other Formats Available:
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 usual race-to-the-bottom model with its inherent poverty wages and unsafe factory conditions. Workers’ stories reveal how adding US$0.90 to a sweatshirt’s production price can change lives: from getting a life-saving operation to a reunited family; from purchasing children's school uniforms to taking night classes; from obtaining first-ever bank loans to installing running water. Sewing Hope invites readers into the apparel industry’s sweatshops and the Alta Gracia factory to 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 Field Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Worker Rights Consortium.
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 the textbook Ethics for International Business
“Full of data with academic rigor arguing for a living wage as well as rich stories of the impact in human lives of such a wage. We highly recommend the book.”—The Human Thread
"This is a must read for anyone concerned with escalating inequality globally and the potential of labor organizing in tandem with more humane corporate management for transforming communities."—New York Journal of Books
“This inspiring book provides a blueprint for changing how our clothes are made. It provides engaging stories of workers, managers, activists, and business executives along with rigorous analysis of how one factory defies the 'race to the bottom.'”—Danny Glover, actor, director, and activist
 “A highly readable and engaging look at a new model for making social justice and profits integral parts of the way business is done. Adding doing good to the bottom line, this book is instructive and inspiring in showing how worker rights and a successful business are not mutually exclusive. You will find yourself cheering on the unlikely cast of characters who made this anti-sweatshop possible and learning strategies for applying their innovative approach to other industries.”—Ben Cohen, activist and cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s

“The Alta Gracia apparel factory is changing the lives of its workers with dignified, unionized work and a living wage, while demolishing some of the most destructive myths about how the global economy is supposed to work. Far from being merely another example of corporate do-goodism, this is the moving story of how an unusual coalition came together to pioneer bold, scalable solutions with the power to transform our world.”—Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough and This Changes Everything

The Anti-Sweatshop with John Kline and Alta Gracia

In this episode Dawn Carpenter talks about the idea of an anti-sweatshop, the experience of an inspiring apparel factory in the Dominican Republic that shows the world that is possible and actually good business practice for an apparel factory in the developing world to pay, not only a living wage, but a dignity wage in a work environment that is honorable. John Kline, co-author with Sarah Adler Milstein of Sewing Hope and a leading authority on international business ethics and Adriana Vaez, manager of the Alta Gracia apparel factory, share the amazing opportunity that is given to this Dominican Republic community while creating a profitable business. Listen to this episode and be inspired to become a mindful consumer.

The Alta Gracia Project

First Living Wage Payday. April 16th, 2010.
Video by Peek Media

New College Apparel: CBS Channel 1 News Reports On Alta Gracia College Apparel

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