United Workers Bring Together 400 in Rally for Fair Development

NESRI partner, the United Workers, joined with Baltimore Community Churches and UniteHere in a Fair Development rally and march on April 20, 2013, which drew 400 participants.  The Baltimore Indypendent Reader chonicled the event.  

On Saturday, April 20th, 2013, over 400 people took to the streets for The United Workers (UW) annual Spring action. Every year UW spends months organizing an enormous April demonstration that calls for worker rights in Baltimore City. This time the action was organized by a marriage between the United Workers, Unite HERE, and Communities and Churches United, forming a body called: The Fair Development Campaign. Usually UW's primary target is developer David Cordish who, "pays virtually no rent on his Inner Harbor Power Plant development where jobs are unstable, temporary, and low-wage."

Currently, The United Workers are waging a full-scale campaign to gain human rights for the entirety of the Inner Harbor.

This year, however, The Fair Development Campaign had its sights set elsewhere for their 2013 Fair Development Rally. In their own words:

"Last Fall Maryland voters were told that legalizing table games would bring good jobs to our communities. Demonstrators are calling on Caesars to make good on this promise by hiring Baltimore residents, paying living wages, respecting workers’ rights to unionize, and addressing the community’s concerns about environmental hazards at the site…The Fair Development Campaign calls for development projects that benefit the communities most in need, provide living wage jobs for Baltimore residents, and respect workers’ rights to unionize. In addition, the development process should be transparent, accountable, and have meaningful participation of the local community."

Uniting in a broad coalition, which is city-wide and prides itself on uniting across color lines, the action met at the site of the proposed casino for a program of inspiring performance and speakers. The mass march then journeyed through the Baltimore, chanting, playing music, and demonstrating with the fire The United Workers and their supporters are now well-known for, to the destination location of McKeldin Square.

There is already an initial victory in the making. On the day of the action, the Campaign released this statement:

"an agreement is very close to being signed with the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore that will ensure that workers have a fair process for unionization… [which] represents over 100,000 workers in the casino and gaming industry in the United States and Canada."

For next week's issue, released on April 29th, Indyreader will have an in-depth piece on the action, this initial victory, and what they mean for Baltimore City workers.

In the meantime, we are excited to bring you this important social justice action update and photos from the Fair Development Rally.

The Fair Development Campaign is a joint-collaboration between UNITE HERE Local 7, United Workers, and Community Churches United, and has been endorsed by AFSCME, IATSE, NAACP, Interfaith Worker Justice, Another BDC is Possible, Red Emma’s, Project TOOUR, Change 4 Real – Sojourner Douglass, and the Presbytery of Baltimore.