10th Anniversary: ESPN Zone and Fighting for Justice

Posted in Culture, Events, Fight for Fair Development, Human Rights Zone, Unity on November 27th, 2012 by Mike – Comments Off

The United Workers understands that to build a strong movement for human rights and an end to poverty requires at its foundation the development of powerful leaders. As we near our big 10th Year Anniversary Celebration this Saturday, December 1, we are publishing a series of blog posts from United Workers leaders, with their stories of personal transformation and memories of important moments in United Workers’ past. The 10th Anniversary Celebration will take place on Saturday, December 1, 3-6pm at James McHenry Recreation Center (911 Hollins Street, Baltimore, MD 21223). To purchase tickets email us at or go to

By Keith Brown

Former workers and their allies protest the ESPN Zone closing in 2010

I worked at ESPN Zone in the Inner Harbor for six years. I was a busser, a line cook, and a prep cook. It was OK, but I like working around the people more than the job. It was the only thing that had you coming back—the community.

Then, in June 2010, we found out from the news that ESPN Zone was closing. They didn’t give us any notice and we were all surprised. It was the first time that I saw people break down on the job ‘cause they didn’t know how they were gonna pay for their child care or school and things they needed to survive.

Right around that time, United Workers members were there with surveys asking harbor workers about their jobs. They heard about the ESPN Zone closing and quickly helped us get organized. They also helped us protest the closure and file a lawsuit against Disney, ESPN Zone’s parent company, which had violated the WARN Act by closing without any notice and with inadequate severance packages. I stuck around cause I liked the work and because I made a lot of friends.

With United Workers I’ve learned about a lot of things. How people are being treated like slaves—the tomato pickers, for instance, in Florida—with low wages and horrible working conditions. With United Workers I’ve traveled to NYC and Philly. We went to meet with folks from the Poverty Initiative and the Media Mobilizing Project. I learned that they had the same problems in NYC and in Philly.

Keith Brown at the 2011 Human Rights Dinner

Keith Brown at the 2011 Human Rights Dinner

My most memorable moment was the United Workers human rights dinner in 2011. We were sitting in a circle and it was time for the award part of the ceremony and then they called my name. I didn’t know why they called my name. And Michael Coleman handed me this award for championing human rights and I had to give a speech. I told them I really didn’t deserve it and that I’d try to live up to it. It was a total surprise.

With United Workers, I have begun to see the city in a different light. I have learned how the developers really operate. How they just want their money. And how the city has been supporting these developers with subsidies at the same time as it is cutting funds from public services—libraries, rec centers, fire stations. Since earlier this year I’ve been a member of United Workers’ West Side Committee. It’s a hard-working great bunch of people, and we have been fighting to keep the fire stations and rec centers open.

After collecting petitions and doing several rallies, we were able to convince the mayor to reverse her decision to close the Truck 10 firehouse. The mayor magically found the money to keep Truck 10 open for another year. It was a great victory, but it also shows you the power of the mayor and the city. She says to close the fire stations and rec centers and gives the developers the go ahead to do whatever they want and that’s not fair. We need fair development, with community participation and real accountability. That’s why we will continue to keep fighting, and that’s why it’s important for you to get in contact and unite with United Workers.

Baltimore’s former ESPN Zone workers are back in court this Friday for the latest hearing in their case against Disney.

10th Anniversary: Remembering Our Harbor Day

Posted in Culture, Fight for Fair Development, Unity on November 19th, 2012 by Mike – Comments Off

The United Workers understands that to build a strong movement for human rights and an end to poverty requires at its foundation the development of powerful leaders. As we near our big 10th Year Anniversary Celebration on December 1, we will be publishing a series of blog posts from United Workers leaders, with their stories of personal transformation and memories of important moments in United Workers’ past. The 10th Anniversary Celebration will take place on Saturday, December 1, 3-6pm at James McHenry Recreation Center (911 Hollins Street, Baltimore, MD 21223). To purchase tickets email us at or go to

By Doreen Hicks

Doreen Hicks marches with Harriet Tubman puppet for Our Harbor Day.

I started with the United Workers in 2007. I worked down at the Camden Yards stadium after they had won the campaign for a living wage. I was invited to an event and it was fun, so I started getting involved. I’m a participatory kind of a person, so whenever they had an event I would help with whatever needed to get done. I like the United Workers message. I love the people. I like the type of work that’s being done and the fact that you gotta fight for it. I like to fight for a good cause.

My most memorable moment at United Workers was when I played Harriet Tubman as a puppet for Our Harbor Day in May 2010 (see image). Our goal was to inform people that they need to rise up and do something about the issues affecting them and their city. We know education is being railroaded into jail cells, industry is being taken out of Maryland, and that the city has replaced factory jobs and solid careers with seasonal jobs and poverty wages. Our money is being used in ways that we don’t even know. All of these atrocities are coming our way and we don’t even realize that we need to stand up for ourselves. We need to fight for our rights, our human rights, our dignity, our respect, our education, our jobs, and our living wages. We need to fight for those things, and that’s what United Workers is doing.

That was our point on Our Harbor Day. We held four different plays about different issues across the city, and the final play was about Harriet Tubman. In the play she told everyone that we were all leaders. But she wasn’t the leader of the march, the people that worked at the Inner harbor were. They led, next came Harriet Tubman, and everyone else was behind us, and we marched from City Hall to the Inner Harbor.

I’ll remember that day for the rest of my life. Harriet Tubman is an important symbol and the work that she did was so immense. I felt honored to be chosen to represent her. But the puppet was so huge it took a while to figure out how the heck I was going to wear the costume. Plus, with the heat of the day, it was 100 degrees in that thing, and at the end of the march I got dizzy and disoriented, and somebody else had to take over for me. But the experience was amazing.

Other people should get involved with United Workers, because it’s a great organization. It benefits a lot of people, because United Workers’ struggles cross boarders and encompass all races, all genders, and all creeds. In spite of the hard work; in spite of the blood, sweat, and tears, it’s all worth it. It’s for the people.

Our Harbor Day march to the Inner Harbor

Video: Teaser from the March to Occupy GGP

Posted in Culture, Events, Fight for Fair Development, Human Rights Zone, Media on May 21st, 2012 by Ashley – Comments Off

There is more to come, but here’s a teaser to wet your palate. Check back in for a longer video report from Saturday’s action.


Larger than life! Gearing up for the March to Occupy GGP

Posted in Culture, Fight for Fair Development, Human Rights Zone, Unity on May 7th, 2012 by Ashley – Comments Off

This weekends actions were larger than life, literally. From a blown up demand letter to large scale projected animations, this past weekend was one of the most interactive, art filled and BIGGEST expressions of Occupy the Malls to date. As we gear up for the March to Occupy GGP on May 19th, the United Workers Action Team, a group of low-wage workers, artists, and activists have been designing creative tactics for getting the message out about the human rights abuses at the Inner Harbor and General Growth Properties steadfast refusal to acknowledge workers demands.

On Friday as tourists and harbor goers enjoyed a lovely Spring evening, an unusual thing happened. A light was cast on the Inner Harbor, exposing the reality of poverty-zone development on Baltimore. Greenpants, a Baltimore based group of artist, activists, and educators, came up with a brilliant idea to project an animation on the exterior of the mall that told the story of workers fight for work with dignity and fair development at the Inner Harbor. This mesmerizing projection was a perfect example of public art being used to open up space for conversations about development, poverty, and human rights.

The very next day, the Action Team unveiled a blown-up version of harbor workers demand letter (the one we’ve been dropping off at GGP malls across the country). Who knows, maybe GGP hasn’t responded to our letter because they couldn’t read the small font. But instead of bringing this letter to GGP, once again, we decided to instead bring it to the people. One by one, harbor visitors gravitated to the giant yellow letter and once learning of the abuses at the harbor they added their signature to the call for workers demands to a right to work with dignity, healthcare and education.

After several hours of educating consumers and gathering signatures, we walked up several blocks to the plaza outside the offices of the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) to join the Spring Development Forum. Organized by Another BDC is Possible, the Spring Development Forum was right up our alley. Leaders from across the city, working on a variety of social and economic justice issues, from worker’s rights to juvenile justice reform, came out to discuss how our current model of economic development benefits only a few and share how we can create a new model of economic development that truly benefits all.

This weekends actions proved once again that the message of Fair Development resonates with people from all walks of life. As we prepare for the March to Occupy GGP, we’re calling on all those who believe in the tenants of Fair Development, respect for human rights, public benefits over private gain, and sustainability, join us in this major action on May 19th.

Flickr photoset: Mall projection and Giant letter signing

Posted in Culture, Events, Fight for Fair Development, Human Rights Zone, Unity on May 6th, 2012 by Ashley – Comments Off

Audio of Fair Development Conference Workshops

Posted in Community of Dignity, Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Solidarity, Unity on November 4th, 2011 by greg – Comments Off

Below is audio for most of the Fair Development Conference Workshops. To read descriptions about the different workshops click here. To download any of the audio files in MP3 format click here.

Fair Development Conference: Block 1

Saving Middle East Baltimore from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions: David and Goliath
The Work-driven Corporate Accountability Model (CTUL, CIW, United Workers) (Spanish)
LOOK HERE, LISTEN UP! Creative Tactics for Telling Critical Stories
Movement Support Work at the Urban Justice Center's Community Development Project
Local Development, Global Solidarity: Baltimore, Veolia, and BDS

Fair Development Conference: Block 2

Resource Grabs: From Highland Park to Kayford Mountain
New Strategies toward a National Movement to End Poverty
Permaculture: A Method of Sustainable Systems Design
Creating Youth Justice through a democratic youth led process
Community Advocacy Strategies for Accountable, Equitable Development

Fair Development Conference: Block 3

Creative Strategies for Facilitating Meetings and Groups Work
Human Rights and Organizing: The Grassroots Struggle for Universal Healthcare
Exploring and Understanding Workers Cooperatives as an Alternative Development Strategy
Abolition, Religion, & Social Movements: Lessons from a Movement to End Slavery for a Movement to End Poverty Today
National to Local - How the Fight for a Fair Economy and Good Jobs Better Baltimore are working to address income inequality in America and our city

Fair Development Conference: Block 4

Race to the Bottom: How workers and taxpayers lose
Collectivization, fair development, and solidarity: rural and urban community organizing in the Dominican Republic (Spanish)
The Human Right to Education: The School to Prison Pipeline
Breaking the Media Blackout
Real Food, Real Work

Interviews, Interviews, Interviews: What is Fair Development?

Posted in Community of Dignity, Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Human Rights Zone on November 2nd, 2011 by greg – Comments Off

Throughout the Fair Development Conference, participants, panelists and United Workers’ members were asked what Fair Development means to them. A few of those interviews can be seen below, building, expanding and collectively envisioning how Fair Development both stands in opposition to poverty zone development like that of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and extends to struggles across the country for land, healthcare, housing, love and dignity; or in short, people’s basic human rights.


Fair Development Conference is a Stunning Success

Posted in Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Human Rights Zone, Solidarity on November 1st, 2011 by Ashley – Comments Off

Wow! What a powerful weekend. From Brazil to Detroit, more than 400 social movement activists and grassroots organizers participated in the Fair Development Conference to connect local struggles to a growing global movement for economic human rights and justice. Participants converged in Baltimore to take part in discussions, workshops and actions to build solidarity across issues of social, economic and environmental justice ranging from universal healthcare to anti-war organizing, all under the banner of “fair development for everyone.”

Check out the website for videos and photos posted over the course of the weekend

It was truly an inspiring event, from beginning to end. From the first night where we started by sharing a meal together to build community and listen to six commanding and clear keynote speakers set the tone and call to action for the collective task of building a global movement to end poverty for all.

Videos of the speeches are forthcoming.

On Saturday, over 40 grassroots, cultural, community, and labor leaders and groups presented in 24 workshops to exchange strategies and solutions for building power to put forward alternative visions of economic development based on fair development principles of respecting human rights, maximizing public benefits, and sustainability. The Fair Development Conference created a space for in-depth dialogue on how to stop private corporations and banks from reaping unprecedented profits as the economic crisis continues to ravage communities across the globe.

In a workshop entitled, “Resource Grabs,” we heard from Adam Hall of the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation discuss the devastating effects that mountain top removal has had on the level of poverty and health of communities in West Virginia, including his family farm that had extended back generations and generations. The Vermont Workers Center shared insights into what led to their successful Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign. Marisela Gomez, former director of the Save Middle East Action Committee (SMEAC), gave a thorough presentation on the history of Johns Hopkins controversial redevelopment of East Baltimore that led to unprecedented displacement of residents.

If you came to the Fair Development Conference and just couldn’t go to every workshop you were interested in or if you just missed the conference, have no fear. Our amazing internal media team audio recorded just about every session. We will be posting all these soon, so be on the lookout.

Baltimore is a great example of how development affects ordinary people’s lives and on Sunday, we focused our attention on one of those examples, the Inner Harbor. Over 150 harbor workers, grassroots allies, and community members gathered for the “Haunted Harbor March.” See photos and from this playful and dramatic action.

The whole weekend was a stunning success. So many connections and friendship were made, solidified, and grew. We ate, prayed, reflected, learned, shared, danced, and marched together. Through that process we build lasting bonds of solidarity, shared a vision of a world free from poverty and exploitation, and re-equipped ourselves with new strategies and tools for realizing that vision.

Stay tuned for more updates from the Fair Development Conference!

Day 3: “Poverty Busters” take on harbor haunted by human rights abuses

Posted in Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Human Rights Zone, Solidarity on November 1st, 2011 by Ashley – Comments Off

After two days of amazing conversations, presentations, and workshops with social movement activists and organizers from all over the country and the globe, we closed the Fair Development Conference by taking that energy and spirit to the Inner Harbor.

On the eve of Halloween, harbor workers, grassroots allies, conference goers, and community members gathered to take part in telling the story of, “The Haunted Harbor: A Terrifying Tale of Poverty-Zone Development.” Dressed as zombie developers, ghosts of “poverty wages” and “disrespect,” and the protagonists of this story, the “Poverty Busters,” we took to the harbor making stops along the way to perform our play and hear from harbor workers and grassroots allies from the Baltimore Algebra Project, Occupy Baltimore, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, Vermont Workers Center, Media Mobilizing Project, and the Poverty Initiative.

It was an incredible action, but the most powerful moment came when after three years of being denied access to march through our harbor, we took the promenade along the Inner Harbor in full view of workers and consumers. We stopped in the ampitheater in the center of Harborplace to tell the real story of the harbor, the story that is hidden, made invisible, but that workers know all too well. As Raquel Rojas, former Cheesecake Factory cook, recounted the wage theft and sexual harassment she experienced and witnessed, workers congregated on the balconies and at doorways to hear her story. Emboldened by our actions, we marched to the Cheesecake Factory where we stopped and chanted so all could hear our demands for worker dignity.

As we came to our final stop at the former location of the ESPN Zone and the new location of Phillips Seafood, one of the worst human rights violators in the harbor, it was a bittersweet moment. It was a bittersweet moment, because in the tale we performed, we as “Poverty Busters” had zapped the human rights abuses out of this dimension, freeing the harbor from the ghosts of poverty-zone development. But as we emerged from our playful fantasy, we knew the human rights abuses still existed and the harbor had yet to be transformed into a Human Rights Zone. We know that the road to Fair Development is long and has and will continue to require commitment, leadership and effective grassroots organizing to release the heart of our city from the shackles of poverty-zone development. It was also a bittersweet moment because the Fair Development Conference had officially come to an end and it was time to say good-bye to friends both new and old. We had shared and learned so much over the course of the weekend, we were inspired by the many stories of struggle and victory, reaffirming our collective commitment to building a united movement to create a just and equitable world for all.

Day 2: Defining Fair Development

Posted in Community of Dignity, Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Human Rights Zone, Unity on October 29th, 2011 by greg – Comments Off

The many pieces of fabric that made up the quilt of a collective vision of Fair Development were constructed throughout the day in the many workshops, conversations, meals shared and stories swapped. The intricacies of Fair Development became more defined as people elaborated on the three concepts of maximizing public benefits, respect for human rights and sustainability.

The Fair Development Photo Booth was one of the many places host to dozens of participants to express their vision for Fair Development. It quickly turned into a space for breaking down barriers of age and language where all could communicate a desire for a hopeful future. Check the photos out here:

While some expressed their sentiments on cardboard, still others conducted a series of short interviews. Check them out!

Finally, be sure to take a peruse through the many photos that captured the over twenty-five different workshops:

United Workers Unity Circle

Posted in Community of Dignity, Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Solidarity, Unity on October 28th, 2011 by greg – Comments Off

In preparation for participants to arrive to St. Johns Church to hear the Keynote speakers, the United Workers takes a moment to come together in a Unity Circle to express love, gratitude and leadership for each other and all those that will join them today.

City Paper: “United Workers harness protest energies with their Fair Development Conference”

Posted in Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Get Involved, Human Rights Zone, Media, News Coverage, Unity on October 26th, 2011 by Ashley – Comments Off

Pick up this week’s Baltimore City Paper or go online to read their article on the United Workers upcoming Fair Development Conference. In other news, the United Workers appeared on the Marc Steiner show with the Marian Kramer of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and Sarah Weintraub of the Vermont Worker Center. The two media pieces draw connections between Fair Development, the Occupy Movements and the nature of a system built on poverty and poverty-zone development. If you missed the Steiner show you can have a listen here.

Here’s an excerpt from the City Paper article:

From February’s labor protests in Wisconsin to the 99 percenters currently camping out in New York’s Zuccotti Park, populist protest is suddenly all the rage. But movements for social change are nothing new. Take, for example, the United Workers, a Baltimore-based coalition of low-wage workers formed in 2002. In 2007, the United Workers lobbied for “living wages” at Camden Yards—and got them. Since then, the group has been campaigning on behalf of workers at the Inner Harbor, trying to institutionalize rights to health care and education.

To raise awareness of these efforts, the group has a history of putting on political events that go beyond the strictly political. In the past, that has resulted in street-side theatrical performances, a community fair, and, in true activist tradition, plenty of marches. This weekend, Oct. 28-30, UW hosts the Fair Development Conference, a gathering of grassroots organizations, political activists, community organizers, and other interested parties from as far as Brazil and as near as Baltimore . . .

The workshops, lectures, and presentations planned for the conference will take on much more than just the struggle for the soul of the harbor. And although fair development is the organizing principle behind the conference, the topic is interpreted broadly enough to include discussions on universal health care, permaculture design, and lessons drawn from the 19th-century movement to abolish slavery. One workshop will explore Johns Hopkins Hospital’s fraught relationship with the Middle East neighborhood, where it displaced hundreds of residents to build a controversial—and moribund—biotech park; another will spotlight worker-led organizations that have successfully lobbied for Taco Bell, Whole Foods, and other food-industry giants to raise wages for the people who pick their tomatoes.

To read the full article, go to

“Haunted Harbor March” at Fair Development Conference

Posted in Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Get Involved, Human Rights Zone, Unity on October 23rd, 2011 by Ashley – Comments Off

If work just ain’t fair
at the Harborplace
Who ya gonna call?

That’s right! For decades, the Inner Harbor has been haunted by labor and human rights abuses including: poverty wages, disrespect, sexual harassment, lack of healthcare, denying education opportunities, wage theft, unsafe work environments, and general exploitation for the sake of profit.

That’s why, Harbor workers, members and community artists have been preparing for a battle between between the “Poverty Busters” and the ghouls and goblins of Poverty-zone Development. On final day of the Fair Development Conference, Sunday, October 30th, United Workers will lead a march from the Baltimore Development Corporation down to the Inner Harbor featuring “Poverty Busters” lighting up their proton packs and blasting these abuses out of this dimension, replacing them with our shared fair development principles of Human Rights, Sustainability, and maximizing public benefits.  During the march, harbor workers and community leaders from throughout the country will share how our struggles are connected and demonstrate that we have the strength and community power to save our Harbor from these monstrous abuses!

The march will feature participants from the Fair Development Conference, Harbor Workers, and allies from throughout the city and will feature Baltimore’s own Barrage Band Orchestra!

Check out the flickr photoset to see a preview of the Haunted Harbor in the making.


What: The Haunted Harbor March! A Terrifying Tale of Poverty Zone Development

When: Sun October 30th 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Gather at Charles St. & Lombard St.

Video: Watch Final Episode of Smiley/West Poverty Tour Series

Posted in Culture, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Human Rights Zone, Media, News Coverage, Solidarity, Unity on October 20th, 2011 by Ashley – Comments Off

The Media Mobilizing Project recently followed Tavis Smiley and Cornel West on a national Poverty Tour to make visible the plight and fight of the poor in the U.S. Last week, the Tavis Smiley show aired a five part series created by the Media Mobilizing Project encapsulating the stories, lessons, and struggles shared along this eye-opening journey. Ending on a truly inspiring note, the last segment focuses on groups and communities organizing to build a movement to end poverty. It includes interviews and discussion with The Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida, Domestic Workers United in New York, Direct Action Welfare Group in West Virginia and Iraq Veterans Against the War, The Vermont Workers Center, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign and yours truly, the United Workers. Need a dose of inspiration? Check it out.

Watch The Poverty Tour Part 5 on PBS. See more from Tavis Smiley.

To learn more about the Media Mobilizing Project go here or come to their Saturday workshop at the Fair Development Conference.

To watch the rest of the videos in this series, go to

Lend a Hand at the Fair Development Conference!

Posted in Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Get Involved, Human Rights Zone, Solidarity, Unity on October 13th, 2011 by Ashley – Comments Off

Participate in making the Fair Development Conference possible! We are looking for volunteers to help with everything from set-up to childcare to planning Sunday’s action. Pitch in for a few hours, or the whole weekend.

If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Mike Wissner at, or attend one of our volunteer trainings.

How you can participate:

  • Housing conference presenters and attendees
  • Transportation
  • Childcare
  • Spanish/English Interpretation
  • Promotion
  • Documenting the conference
  • Building puppets and signs for the action

Opportunities to get involved!

  • Internal Media Training- Sunday, October 16th 11AM-2PM at United Workers office (901 Hollins St., Baltimore, MD)
  • Action Build Day!- Sunday, October 16th 4PM-8PM and Monday, October 17th 7PM-9PM at Nana Project Studios (4504 Wilmslow Road, Baltimore, MD 21210)
  • General Conference Volunteer Training- Tue, October 18, 7pm – 8pm (location tbd)

Don’t miss the Opening Plenary! Powerful keynotes, amazing banquet, and more!

Posted in Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Get Involved, Human Rights Zone on October 11th, 2011 by greg – Comments Off


We are excited to announce the featured speakers who will address the conference Friday evening. Our guests represent diverse perspectives in the movement for economic human rights for all, and we are proud that these three inspiring leaders will be joining us to share key lessons and analysis for building power.

Marian Kramer has been an organizer and leader in poor people’s movements, including the welfare rights movement since 1966. She is the former chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. She lives in Detroit, Michigan, where she continues to fight for human rights and an end to poverty.

Janaina Stronzake is a leader of Movimento Sem Terra (MST), or the Brazilian Landless Rural Workers‘ Movement. The MST has led more than 2,500 occupations of large estates in Brazil, leading to the settlement of around 370,000 families on the land. Janaina’s work focuses on the struggle of landless women.

Jan Rehmann teaches philosophy and social theories at Union Theological Seminary and at the Free University in Berlin. He is co-editor of the Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism (HKWM), and his most recent books are Theories of Ideology and Critique of Postmodernist Nietzscheanism.


We wouldn’t let you go hungry while you’re listening to our great speakers. Community dinner will be served at 7pm on Friday evening for all conference participants. (That’s one reason why it’s so important to register now.) And we’ve got a treat in store – the dinner will be made by United Workers members, many of whom are cooks in downtown restaurants. Why go to dinner in the Inner Harbor when the food can come to you?


Please spread the word about the conference! We are dedicated to making this a grassroots conference, and we need your help to encourage members of your community to participate. Please forward this e-mail widely, or click here to invite friends on Facebook.


Friday Oct. 28, 2011: Dinner, welcome, and keynote

Saturday October 29: Workshops and discussions, film screening and dinner, and dance party.

Sunday October 30: Action event – check your e-mail for more updates on our action soon!

Questions or comments? Please e-mail us at

Sept. 10th— The Strategic Dialogues Are Back!

Posted in Culture, Events, Unity on August 29th, 2011 by Ashley – Comments Off

Now that the summer is winding down, we’re kicking off another series of Strategic Dialogues. Join students, faith leaders, artists, media makers, community organizers and United Workers leaders in the next installment of this series. With unemployment and jobs on the tip of everyone’s tongues, we decided to take on this issue. Through a multi-media presentation and discussion, we’ll unpack the figures and the myths, examine how we got here and discuss the value of work with dignity. After taking on this heavy subject, we’ll reach back for lessons and inspiration from our own Maryland history to see how past leaders have organized to demand respect, dignity and end to exploitation: from unemployed sailors in Baltimore during the Great Depression to Abolitionist Movement that helped bring about an end to slavery.

The Strategic Dialogues are an opportunity to come together across many barriers to share food, culture, ideas, and energy. So join us once again for an exciting Strategic Dialogue!

What: Strategic Dialogue
When: Saturday, September 10th, 10:30 AM-2:30 PM
Where: “2640″ St. Paul St. (aka St. John’s Church)
*Lite breakfast and lunch provided

To RSVP, call 410-230-1998 or email

Aug. 15th— Conference proposal deadline coming up! Plus, register now…

Posted in Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Get Involved, Human Rights Zone, Unity on August 8th, 2011 by Ashley – Comments Off

The deadline to submit a workshop proposal for the Fair Development Conference is Monday, August 15th. So far there are some pretty exciting proposals in the works. Everything from the intersection of human rights and economic development to media and movement building, from successful worker-led corporate accountability campaigns to sustainable worker-owned cooperatives, from nuts & bolts trainings on organizing and developing an effective campaign to analysis of the current political economy. But there is still time to add to this growing program and we encourage you to take part in making the Fair Development Conference a powerful and comprehensive national conversation. To learn more about submitting a proposal, go here.

Also, we’ve just set-up on online registration for the Fair Development Conference. So let us know you’re coming and register today!

Submit a Proposal for the Fair Development Conference!

Posted in Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Get Involved, Human Rights Zone on July 11th, 2011 by Ashley – Comments Off

We encourage you to participate in the Fair Development Conference by submitting a proposal for a workshop, panel, training or presentation. The themes we would like to highlight include:

Analysis of current development practices, with in-depth looks at the economic crisis, service-sector Poverty-zones, mountaintop removal, prisons, corporate monopolies, etc.

Solutions that encompass the alternative world we want to create, such as communal ownership of resources; human rights to dignity, housing, healthcare and education; equitable and sustainable use of public resources; etc.

Strategies for movement building, including organizing models and skills, strategic campaign development, creative tactics, alternative media, faith-based approaches, etc.

We welcome a mixture of formats and proposals from both individuals and organizations. There will be 60- and 90-minute sessions. Based on space and time, we might suggest collaboration if proposals are similar. In your proposal please include a title with a one-sentence description, your partners in organizing, a longer description of the workshop and how your idea relates to the conference themes, session format, and who the workshop is geared towards.

In discussing this vision of Fair Development, we seek to create a space that puts these values into practice. The conference will emphasize the full participation of all attendants through dialogue and exchange, popular education presentations, multiple media formats and documentation, arts and cultural expression, inclusion of faith perspectives, Spanish/English interpretation, childcare, and youth engagement.

Deadline: Monday, August 15, 2011

Please email proposals to

Or mail to

United Workers

P.O. Box 41547

Baltimore, MD 21203

Download, Request for Proposals (PDF)

Be a part of the planning!

To learn more about how you can participate in the planning of the Fair Development Conference, come to the Community Interest Meeting on July 20th or email

Save the date! Fair Development Conference, Oct. 28-30

Posted in Culture, Events, Fair Development Conference, Fight for Fair Development, Get Involved, Human Rights Zone on June 28th, 2011 by Ashley – Comments Off

The current economic crisis has made more apparent the growing numbers of people struggling to meet their basic needs—food, housing, healthcare, work with dignity and education. Corporations and government leaders claim that the solution is an economic development model that hands power and public resources over to private entities in the name of job creation.

In Baltimore, this development model takes the form of massive government hand-outs to companies like Wal-Mart and developers at tourist hot-spots like the Inner Harbor. While wealth is consolidated in the hands of a few at the top, workers at these Poverty-zones are denied living wages, healthcare and access to education. This is not unique to Baltimore.  Poverty-zone Development runs rampant throughout the country in both city-centers and rural areas, as controlling forces advocate a kind of development that disregards public needs with empty promises of economic growth and job creation. At the same time, local community struggles highlight the need for an alternative model of development that respects human rights, maximizes public benefits and is sustainable. And to that end, participants in those struggles are using innovative methods to organize, develop leadership, and build power.

The Fair Development Conference is a gathering meant to increase our understanding of these challenging times, connect our various fronts of struggle, share movement-building strategies and develop a collective vision for “Fair Development.” The United Workers and its community partners are calling on grassroots organizers, low-wage workers, academics, faith leaders, artists, activists, students and teachers from across the country to join us in exploring the possibilities for Fair Development in our communities.