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Alta Gracia, a clothing company that takes its name from Villa Altagracia, the town in the Dominican Republic where the factory is located, sells its clothes to over 180 schools, both secondary and post-secondary, according to Gena Madow, a spokeswoman for Alta Gracia. “The Worker Rights Consortium, an independent labor watchdog group with which over 180 colleges and universities are affiliated, determined that in US dollars, the Dominican minimum wage is $0.84 and the living wage, or the lowest amount of money a worker can make per hour to support himself or herself and his or her family, is $2.83. While the legal minimum wage is less than $150 per month, Alta Gracia pays their workers the WRC’s determined “living wage” -- $510 per month and 340 percent of the minimum wage,” Madow said in an email. SU is one school that purchases clothing from Alta Gracia, supporting a global economy that treats its workers fairly and pays them enough to support themselves and their families and help them get out of debt, according to Scott Nova, a spokesman for the WRC. Alta Gracia clothing can be found in the SU Bookstore, alongside clothes from brands with

less-than-ethical sources of labor, like Nike. Cheng urges schools to get involved with USAS and sweatshop awareness activities in various ways. “USAS sponsors days and weeks of action, during which we urge students to hold events on their campuses, in the form of educational teaching or holding protests and rallies in front of administration buildings,” she said. “Students can help their schools and their school bookstores hold brands accountable for fair labor practices.” Students in the U.S. and Canada have recently impacted sweatshop operations, according to an August 30, 2010 article from the Canadian NewsWire. “In late 2009, the United Students Against Sweatshops and the Canadian Federation of Students ran a successful corporate boycott aimed at Russell Athletic, a manufacturer of campus apparel,” according to the article. A 36-page report from the WRC’s website adds that students called for Russell Corporation to take action, making fair labor standards in their factories. Eventually the factories in Honduras were shut down and reopened according to fair labor standards cited by the WRC. At a SU lecture in April 2000, Ben-

nett Freeman, then a U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state, praised students for their anti-sweatshop activism, encouraging students and other activists to continue holding corporations accountable for unethical behavior, according to an April 12, 2000 edition of the Daily Orange. “[Human rights issues such as fair labor practices] are not just bread and butter issues, but sometimes life and death issues for these people,” Freeman said in the article. “Our companies make a huge impact on these developing countries.” According to Sarah Miraglia, it’s hard for students to avoid buying sweathsop-produced clothing while still being fashionable, but the fight against sweatshops should continue. “There are retailers who make claims to ethical and social responsibility, but these measures don’t overcome the problems that occur in the factory,” she said. “We live in a society where we want quick fixes--the reality is that [sweatshops and unethical labor standards] have progressed over time and they can’t be undone in a heartbeat. It takes time to align yourself with the commitments and problems that arise in the garment industry.”

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