Dear Managers of the University of Iowa Bookstore,
We, the undersigned, applaud the University Bookstore’s initial steps to source union-made living-wage Alta Gracia apparel. By carrying the Alta Gracia brand, the bookstore is providing students and other supporters of the University of Iowa the choice to consume in a socially conscious manner, an opportunity that is all too rare in the apparel industry. We now ask that the University Bookstore continue to take a leading role in social responsibility in apparel by increasing your order of Alta Gracia apparel for the fall back-to-school order to $250,000, which would equal the amount carried by a number of other colleges, including Duke University.
Alta Gracia Apparel is a groundbreaking business based in Villa Altagracia, Dominican Republic where workers earn a living wage. Based on a cost-of living study conducted by the Workers Rights Consortium, a labor rights watchdog with more than a decade of experience monitoring the supply chains of over 180 universities, this living wage is set at more than three times the Dominican minimum wage. This living wage allows workers to cover all of their basic needs: food, shelter, transport, education for children, health care, and moderate savings. Alta Gracia Apparel is the first clothing brand ever to make its products in a factory where workers have union representation, and where the Workers Rights Consortium has unrestricted factory access to verify that all pay and labor rights commitments are being met. With Alta Gracia Apparel, the University of Iowa Bookstore finally has the ability to provide such an option with a product that costs no more, wholesale or retail, than comparable brands. In addition to being socially conscious, Alta Gracia sales have proven to be profitable at more than 350 bookstores nation-wide when bookstores make a genuine effort to educate consumers about the impact Alta Gracia has in the Dominican Republic.
The sustainability and success of this uplifting new business model is dependent on the commitment of the University of Iowa Bookstore’s orders from Alta Gracia.