Letters to the editor

Factories need attention.

As the Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation, we urge USC to buy clothes from the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic, where workers recently unionized and now make a living wage.

As a visiting delegation of workers from that factory showed last semester, the working and living conditions of the garment workers there have been significantly improved.

Moreover, we see this as an opportunity for USC to support just labor practices and the right to collective bargaining that so many people working in third world countries are denied.

A July 2010 New York Times article covered the factory’s practices and hopes, saying “Many say Alta Gracia has gone further than others by embracing higher wages and unionization.”

Duke University has already committed to buying a minimum of $250,000 of apparel from Alta Gracia.

“This sometimes seems too good to be true,” Jim Wilkerson, Duke’s director of licensing, told the Times.

We are asking USC to match Duke’s offer and build a working relationship with the factory.

SCALE is looking forward to working with students, faculty and administrators to make this a reality.

By working together, we can make a difference for those who are not as fortunate as us.

We believe that by buying apparel from Alta Gracia, USC would embody its commitment, as written in the workplace code of conduct, in making sure “products are manufactured in safe work environments that respect worker’s rights.”

Julia Wang

Freshman, Biochemistry