PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–A Living Wage Factory

DE SAM LAZARO: Joe Bozich founded the Knights Apparel company in 2001 and built it into the largest maker of licensed college sportswear. These shirts are made in a tiny corner of the Knights empire: a factory called Altagracia that pays people like Manuel Guzman a living wage. Unusual does not begin to describe the factory where Guzman works in the Dominican Republic, a Caribbean nation of nearly 10 million, where unemployment exceeds 15 percent. The factory atmosphere is relaxed, the music is loud.

MANUEL GUZMAN: (through translator) There is no pressure here to produce all the time. People come here to train us, lawyers have taught us our rights. Also, we have a union that protects us.

DE SAM LAZARO: Maritza Vargas is the union steward.

(to Vargas) Are the wages sufficient?


DE SAM LAZARO: Yes, she responded. Wages are based on the cost of living for a family of five, calculated by the country’s central bank and adjusted every year for inflation.

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