Leading the fight for fair development.
The United Workers is fighting for fair development at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. We’re demanding that the developers who control the Harbor shift from poverty-based development to fair development.
We’re leading this fight because the values of private greed and indifference lead to high human, social and environmental costs, which are borne by the community instead of the developers. The Inner Harbor is the heart of Baltimore. This means that the Harbor should be for the benefit of the community as a whole, not merely for the developers who want to have private profits instead of public benefits.
Labor Notes: Targeting Developers at “Top of Profit Chain”
United Workers’ strategy is to target the developers who control the Inner Harbor, pursuing a legally binding agreement with each one. The agreements will mandate, through the leases between the developers and their vendors, that all employers at the property pay at least the Maryland state living wage—$12.25—and treat workers with respect.
The vendors, including Cheesecake Factory, ESPN Zone, Barnes & Noble, and M&S Grill, are mostly national brands that depend on favorable consumer perception. read more
The Costs of Poverty Zone Development
Workers and Families Pay High Costs of Poverty-Zone Development:
The costs of poverty-zone development are paid by workers, families and the community. These costs come in the form of poverty-wages, pollution, threats to community health and well-being and the social development of Baltimore. Here are just some of many examples of the high costs of poverty-zone development at the Inner Harbor:
- Workers at the Inner Harbor are paid poverty-wages, which violates workers’ economic human right to work with dignity
- Sexual harassment, such as managers demanding sexual favors in exchange for better shifts or more hours
- Some workers report being required to purchase a “company cup” in order to drink any beverage, including water
- Workers report stolen tips, unpaid wages and other forms of abusive treatment
Workers Demand Respect and Work with Dignity
Standing Up for Our Rights:
Workers are demanding that GGP and Cordish, the developers who control the Inner Harbor, enter into legally binding economic human rights agreements with the United Workers. (Read the demands.) These agreements will:
- Require that vendors, such as national chains ESPN Zone, Barnes & Noble and Cheesecake Factory, and local chain Phillips Seafood, respect workers’ rights, including the right to be paid a living wage.
- The agreements will also provide funds to expand health care and education programs for workers and their families.
- Hold developers to account for the human rights and economic conditions at the Inner Harbor. Developers will agree to monitor vendors and enforce human rights standards through lease agreements with vendors.
Workers are fighting to replace poverty zone development with fair development. The poverty zone practices that we’re fighting to end include the following:
- Deskilling of the workforce
- Sexual harassment and other indignities at work
- Managers attempting to take “total control” of workers lives (primarily through unfair control over worker schedules that intrude into the home life of workers)
- The use of autocratic and authoritarian management, based on paternalistic beliefs about low-wage workers
- Paying workers poverty wages and creating barriers to education
Benefits of Fair Development
- Respects human rights
- Maximizes public benefits
- And is sustainable
This means that workers are paid living wages and are treated with respect by their employers. Barriers to health, well-being and education are removed. Additional supports are provided so that everyone’s full potentials can be realized.
Public benefits are maximized through responsible public investments in developments that build the local economy, provide an abundance of living wage jobs, and create a vibrant community for everyone. Business models are sustainable, rather than off loading costs to people and the environment. Fair development supports health, advances fairness and strengthens the community. It is development for the whole community, not only for the private developers.