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.
On Thursday, March 14, 2013, the Baltimore City Council Labor Committee approved a resolution calling on the Hyatt Regency Baltimore to sign a labor peace agreement. According to lead sponsor, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, the Hyatt has repeatedly intervened in lawful union organizing activities and has been subcontracting temp-agency workers in violation of direct hiring requirements stipulated in their lease agreement with the City of Baltimore. This video presents excerpts from the first hour of the labor committee hearing.
Baltimore - Artist-activist video projection group, Luminous Intervention, took part in country-wide actions to draw attention to the issue of corporate tax evasion in the week leading up to Tax Day. Overpass light brigades and other guerilla projection groups across the US projected the game "Tax Evaders", a riff off of the classic video game "Space Invaders".
Members of Unite Here, Local 7, and their Social Justice allies, staged a demonstration on Wednesday afternoon, April 3, 2013, at BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport. It took place at the departure terminal of Southwest Airlines. The workers are fighting AirMall, USA, the company placed in charge of concessions at the airport by the State of Maryland. The union is demanding improved wages, benefits and working conditions for their members. Since the State hires AirMall, USA, Governor Martin O’Malley has a potentially important role to play in resolving this dispute.
On March 24th, 2013, local historians, activists, and interested parties gathered at Camden and S. Eutaw to join in the unveiling of a new plaque commemorating the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. The plaque joins a slew of public memorials in this part of southwest Baltimore but was the first recognizing the role of laborers and their struggles in the making of this place.
The crisis of empathy is a great danger to the individual. It separates us from the pain that is felt universally. It stunts our ability to conceive of anything better in how we could live our lives. It is when we can tear down the fences that we build within ourselves, and undergo that transformation—from hostility to warmth, from suspicion to a welcoming embrace, from bitterness to tenderness—we find a power that cannot be taken from us.
The word “entitlement” had prestige and dignity before the party of “no” got its hands on it. The point is that these programs are being hotly debated and politicized in the deficit reduction melee on Capitol Hill. The racialization of the issue is a common strategy to turn serious discourse on its head and rally irrational support by appealing to embedded racial stereotypes.
This winter, I had the great fortune to travel to Puerto Rico. A beautiful, diverse island, Puerto Rico has a long colonial history and a long history of resistance. Both of these traditions are still alive today, and Puerto Rico is a fascinating place to study the effects of neoliberalism.
Race has been a topic I wanted to discuss, but because of the sensitivity I have been cautious. However, since President Obama been in office, any discussion without race is unavoidable. I stay awake to the point of obsession about the racial tensions and poverty in the inner cities. I have been trying to examine what events are causing the insanity.