Fair Development Conference Links Local Struggles to Larger Movement for Social and Economic Rights

United Workers Haunted Harbor March

NESRI partner United Workers hosted the first Fair Development Conference October 28th-30th.  More than four hundred grassroots organizers, low-wage workers, academics, faith leaders, artists, activists, students and other allies from across the country and the globe came together to develop a collective vision for Fair Development and to share movement-building strategies that connect local struggles to a growing movement for social and economic rights.

NESRI staff participated in several workshops, including "Grassroots Organizing, Fair Development and Human Rights" (co-sponsored wtih Amnesty International USA and United Workers), and hosted a dinner featuring a screening of the Housing Program’s More than A Roof, followed by panel discussion regarding the human right to housing. NESRI partners — including the Vermont Workers’ Center and the Dignity in Schools Campaign — also presented during sessions addressing the human rights to health care and education.

The weekend of workshops, presentations, film screenings, and discussion culminated in a "Haunted Harbor March" calling on developers at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to work with United Workers to institute the Fair Development model — a model which offers a critique of and solution to the prevalent economic development model in which public resources are put in the hands of private corporations in the name of job creation without the public participation and oversight necessary to ensure that the jobs created by such projects respect workers’ human rights. Hidden in Plain Sight: Workers at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and the Struggle for Fair Development, a report co-published by United Workers and NESRI, provides an introduction to United Workers’ Human Rights Zone Campaign in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and its conceptualization of Fair Development.

For updates, photos, and videos of the Conference, visit