200 Workers Call for Jobs on the Steps of the BDC

200 Workers Call for Jobs on the Steps of the BDC

Close to two-hundred workers turned out for a rally at the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) located at 36 South Charles St. on June 27th. Richie Armstrong, with Community Churches United and Liuna Union, organized the rally. The protesters rallied for jobs created in Baltimore by the upcoming development of the Superblock near Lexington Market to go to workers in Baltimore City. At the rally, protesters also spoke out  against what they believe are unfair tax breaks being given to Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC).

The Superblock is a project located in Baltimore's West Side that aims to develop retailers in the area. The Atlanta based Dawson Company is the project's contractor. The unfair tax breaks that the workers referred to often come in the form of PILOTs, which stands for "Payment In Lieu Of Taxes."

Representatives from Liuna Union, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Good Jobs Better Baltimore, Occupy Baltimore, Another BDC is Possible, Occupy Our Homes, The Trayvon Martin Local Organizing Committee, All People’s Congress, Unite Here Local 7, and ISO joined the rally in solidarity.

The protesters held signs that read “Ready, willing and able to work!,” "Our Community Our jobs,” “Good Jobs Build Strong Communities.”

They chanted "What do we want? Jobs! When do we want them? Now!,” "BDC! BDC!, No More Lies!," and “We aren’t going anywhere! We’re not moving.”

Armstrong explained the purpose of the action, “Our action today was because BDC, the Superblock partnership, and the Dawson Company have ignored us for the last month and a half. You can’t ignore us going into the July 11th City Council meeting. At this city council meeting votes are cast for pilot/tax breaks for the Superblock Partnership and Dawson Company.”

Reverend C.D. Witherspoon, President of the Baltimore Chapter of Southern Christian Leadership Conference, explained why he protested today: “EBDI and Hopkins both are criminal enterprises that are not only in violation of their agreement with the community, but also guilty of stealing peoples hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow. We join in solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters in the struggle, not asking for anything, but rather instead demanding what has already been promised.”

Bailey Pope, the Senior Vice President of Design for The Dawson Company of Atlanta, met with Armonstrong on June 28. BDC spokespersons were unavailable for comment.

Bonnie Lane writes for  Baltimore's newest street paper, Word on the Street. She has an associate of arts degree in public relations/journalism. Lane is a full-time writer, advocate and activist for the homeless and the 99%.