Dominican factory worker to talk about working conditions of U contractor

Her employer, Alta Gracia, is the new outfitter of University of Minnesota attire.

Adam Daniels

Alta Gracia, a South Carolina-based company operating in the Dominican Republic, began producing University of Minnesota apparell after the University cut its contract with Russell Athletic last year.

An Alta Gracia factory worker, Yenny Perez, will be on campus Thursday to talk about the companyâÄôs fair working conditions.

Perez will speak about her former experiences working in sweatshop conditions and her decade-long battle to gain union rights in the Dominican Republic.

The University severed its ties with Russell Athletic over a report that the company violated the UniversityâÄôs licensing code of conduct.

Perez worked at the former BJ&B factory, which also produced athletic attire. She fought for the first union in the free trade zones of the Dominican Republic, which caused brands to cancel orders from BJ&B. The factory shut down in 2007.

The national organization United Students Against Sweatshops has been a strong supporter of Perez and defends workersâÄô rights at more than 150 college campuses.

The group was able to convince more than 90 schools to cut or suspend their contracts with Russell Athletic.

Perez will speak in Thursday in Blegen Hall, room 430 at noon.