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News :: Organizing
Baltimore's Opening Day, Workers Organize
04 Apr 2005
The United Workers Association is in continuous negotiations with Baltimore Orioles owner, Peter Angelos to improve working conditions at Camden Yards.
Last August, the United Workers Association, worked out an agreement directly with Angelos in which the Orioles would pay whatever costs to ensure that the post-event day laborers who are responsible for cleaning the stadium earn a living wage.Workers were hopeful that Opening Day would be the beginning of a new era for day laborers at Camden Yards. "We are now waiting to see if Angelos will honor his agreement... We've kept our word... Hopefully we won't have to wait forever", said Jason Perry, UWA leader.

The UWA has reached an agreement with the new clean up contractor, Knight Facilities Management, on a Code of Conduct to ensure that workers are treated with dignity. This Code of Conduct was signed on March 3, 2005. It also makes stipulations for workers to be represented by the UWA if grievances do arise, truly an historic first for day laborers in the U.S.

Workers are reportedly to be paid this evening at the rate of $7 per hour, while the Baltimore City Living wage is at $8.85 an hour. A living wage is the recognized wage needed to meet basic needs and remain above poverty.

The public in large measure is paying for the clean-up of Camden Yards and M and T Bank Stadiums. The public pays $14 million each year to cover these costs. To raise workers wages to a living wage would cost Angelos approximately $85,000.

The United Workers Association expects to hear from Angelos by the end of the week. If he is unwilling to honor his word, plans are underway for a series of public actions to take place throughout the season. "We've gotten this far by making the invisible visible, by making the public aware of what we go through as day laborers... it is the only way we see change happening", added Perry.

The United Workers Association has also sent out communications to over 50 corporations who are regular users of day labor agencies. Corporations who choose to hire temporary workers rather than full-time employees should be held accountable for what happens in their supply chain. Aramark, the cleaning contractor at Camden Yards was recently fired for maintaining abusive sweatshop day labor conditions. The UWA hopes that this will be a wake up call within the corporate community.
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