Garment Factory Workers Visit Texas Tech to Share Victory in Earning Fair Wages

Makers of Texas Tech apparel from the Dominican Republic to speak about human rights in the workplace.

Alta Gracia

Alta Gracia Apparel is a groundbreaking new clothing line produced at the first-ever apparel factory in the developing world to pay a living wage and demonstrate full respect for workers’ rights.
Photo courtesy: Solidarity Ignite

Garment factory workers from Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic, who sew Texas Tech University apparel, will be on campus at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 2) in the Mesa Room of the Student Union Building to share their story as workers in a conventional textile factory.

Located in the Dominican Republic free trade zone, the Alta Gracia factory is the world’s only collegiate apparel factory and pays three times the local minimum wage. The factory values paying workers a living wage, respecting employees’ democratic voice on the job, providing top-notch health and safety conditions as well as welcoming regular and unrestricted verification by independent labor rights watchdog Worker Rights Consortium.

The result of students and workers organizing in solidarity against sweatshop working conditions, Alta Gracia has emerged in stark contrast to the often-exploited conditions workers face in garment factories.

Hosted by Texas Tech’s Women’s Studies program, Alta Gracia factory workers Maritza Vargas and Sobeida Fortuna will speak about their historic fight for dignity in the workplace, the ripple effect a living wage has on the Villa Altagracia community and the wider apparel industry, and how students can be in solidarity with the workers who sew their university logo apparel. Vargas and Fortuna are members of Fedotrazonas, a grassroots organization that campaigns against sweatshops and is committed to the liberation of those who work in an oppressive environment.

“We are fortunate to have Maritza Vargas and Sobeida Fortuna speak here on campus,” said Tricia Earl, unit coordinator and academic advisor for the Women’s Studies Program, “To hear first-hand accounts of how a living wage has impacted their lives from fueling new businesses, livable homes, nutritious food, clean drinking water and access to education it is critical for our community to recognize the intersection between what is global, local and vice versa. We must be conscious consumers to create positive change in the larger market.”

This event is free and open to the public.


Women's Studies Program

Started in 1981, the Women's Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program that examines the cultural and social construction of gender, explores the history, experiences and contributions of women to society, and studies the influences of gender on the lives of women and men. The program emphasizes critical thinking across disciplines vital to success during and following formal education.

Texas Tech offers a minor in Women's Studies. Goals of the minor include helping students interpret concepts of gender and gendered identities in different social, cultural and political contexts.

The program is administered by the Director of Women's Studies. A minor in Women's Studies consists of 18 hours of courses as approved by the director.

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