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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.
“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