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?
MARITZA VARGAS: Si.
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.