The wages that Chale and her co-workers earn for sewing T-shirts and other clothing items are three times the minimum wage in the Dominican Republic.

A Thread of Hope

At a factory in the Dominican Republic, workers are sewing UW apparel, providing for their families, and spreading hope that the global textile industry can change.

During an age in which nearly all clothing sold in the United States is made in developing countries by workers who are paid just pennies an hour, Alta Gracia Apparel is not your typical textile factory: its employees earn three times the nation’s minimum wage of $150 per month. They get health insurance, a pension, vacation days, and maternity leave. They sit in ergonomic chairs and drink water that they themselves have quality-tested for pathogens.

It’s hard to fathom that a decade ago, many of these same people produced hats for a company that paid them just eighty-four cents an hour, forced them to work overtime without extra pay, and sometimes verbally and physically abused them.

See the full article and photos that were published in the Winter 2012 edition of On Wisconsin Magazine.