Alta Gracia Worker Spotlight: Yenny Perez

Alta Gracia isn’t just collegiate clothing, but a pathway out of poverty.  Alta Gracia, located in the Dominican Republic, focuses on one main goal: paying their employees a living wage. This means that all workers will have enough to provide for their families — food, clean water, clothing, shelter, transportation, child and health care, and education. When you make an Alta Gracia purchase at your campus bookstore, you’re helping #ChangeLives, one t-shirt at a time.  One woman changed by Alta Gracia is Yenny Perez.  Here is her story.

Yenny’s flier featuring her children.

Yenny Perez is an inspiring woman and the Secretary of Finances of Alta Gracia’s union. She grew up in a small, rural village but left at a young age in order to find a job in the capital, Santo Domingo. She was successful at finding work, but her small income impeded her schooling. When she had her first child, she stopped attending entirely.

Determined to provide for her children, Yenny took a job at a local garment factory. Despite being respected as an exemplary employee, she noticed the sore mistreatment of her fellow workers. Long hours, no employee rights, and low wages were common. Yenny declined a job as a supervisor because she could not imagine treating the workers in the same manner the other supervisors did.

When a friend approached her about joining a union to protect workers’ rights, Yenny was eager to participate and helped develop a plan of action. When the company found out, they used intimidation tactics to scare other employees out of joining the union. In order to motivate her fellow workers, Yenny designed a flier featuring her with her children. The company offered to triple her paycheck if she would retract her support, but she told them she wasn’t in it for the money, but for justice.

Now, Yenny has four children who are all attending school, thanks to her job with Alta Gracia. Motivated to continue her education, Yenny is also enrolled in secondary school and hopes to eventually make her way to law school. Once there, she plans to continue to fight for the rights of workers.

For the full article on Yenny Perez, check out Alta Gracia’s site here. Find out how you too can help #ChangeLives like Yenny.

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