Major Human Rights Zone Announcement!

Major Human Rights Zone Announcement!


Major announcement today! Workers call on Inner Harbor developers to ensure human rights standards at the harbor



Inner Harbor workers announced a major ramp-up in the Human Rights Zone Campaign by calling on Inner Harbor developers, The Cordish Companies and General Growth Properties (GGP) to ensure basic human rights standards at the Inner Harbor.

Following today’s announcement, workers and allies made Cordish’s poverty zone model visible through a theatrical illustration of the Inner Harbor profit chain. In the performance, actors representing Developers sat on ladders holding silver platters of public money, while a crab, a sports player and a cheesecake, representing the Harbor’s three Harbor employers, exploited their workers. At the end of the performance, workers united in solidarity across restaurants to demand a right to work with dignity, right to healthcare and right to education. By encircling the developers and enveloping them in song and chants, workers and community allies forced them to come down off their pedestals and work side by side with workers to create a human rights zone at the Inner Harbor.

Having rebuffed United Workers’ call for a six-month dialogue to resolve human rights abuses, Phillips Seafood has instead held closed-door meetings to intimidate employees. As a result, workers decided to by-pass the restaurant-by-restaurant strategy and instead target the top of the profit chain: the developers.cordish-webpic

Because control of the harbor rests in Cordish and GGP’s hands, they are responsible for the human rights violations that take place at their establishments. Low-wage workers demand that Cordish and GGP enter into a 15 year Economic Human Rights Agreement. This agreement would require restaurants and retailers to pay the state living wage and ensure human rights standards in order to keep their lease at the harbor. In addition, developers would contribute directly to a fund that would provide health-care and education opportunities for all low-wage workers in the Inner Harbor and their families

For too long, Cordish and GGP have controlled the Inner Harbor with little regard for the impact a development dependent on low-wage, seasonal work has on the lives of workers and the city of Baltimore. Cordish, a privately owned multi-billion dollar company, has used the Inner Harbor as their model tourist development to attract more tax breaks and subsidies from struggling cities across the U.S hoping to replicate the Inner Harbor and its promise of revitalization. This “model” fails to reveal the poverty zone that has been created by our harbor. Addressing the crowd of allies and pedestrians before the theatrical announcement, Dominic Washington, an Inner Harbor worker, called on Cordish and GGP to “be on the side of justice and ensure that every low-wage worker at the Inner Harbor has their rights respected.”