On May 4th, United Workers announced the release of "Hidden in Plain Sight: Workers at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and the Struggle for Fair Development," a report jointly published by United Workers and NESRI.
Since declaring Baltimore’s Inner Harbor a “Human Rights Zone” on October 25, 2008, United Workers has been documenting low-wage workers’ experiences at the Inner Harbor with surveys, home-visit conversations, long-format interviews, worker unity blogs, video testimonials, human rights committee meetings, participation plays and actions. "Hidden in Plain Sight" presents the fruits of this labor and documents the human rights violations committed by Inner Harbor employers:
- Documented violations of the right to work with dignity include: systematic failure to pay workers a living wage; chronic wage theft; and working conditions offensive to human dignity, including verbal abuse and bribery by supervisors.
- Documented violations of the right to health include: widespread lack of health insurance; lack of sick days; and failure to respond adequately to workplace injuries, including pressure to work while ill or severely injured under threat of termination.
The report describes a path toward transformation of the Inner Harbor into a Fair Development – one that respects workers’ human rights – that begins with the developers, the large corporations that have controlled and profited from the redevelopment of the Inner Harbor. United Workers calls on the Inner Harbor’s two major developers – General Growth Properties and the Cordish Companies – to enter into fair development agreements that require all vendors to meet basic human rights standards in their treatment of workers. Drawing on the precedents of living wage ordinances and community benefits agreements, these agreements require that all workers be paid a living wage and be treated with respect and dignity at work, and that a fund be established to address workers’ health care and educational needs.
The report is available for download here and also on United Workers’ website, where video testimonials by Harbor workers can also be viewed. If you would would like a hard copy of the report, email United Workers at .