Our History

Founded in 2002 at Eutaw Street Shelter.

The United Workers was founded in 2002 by homeless day laborers meeting in an abandoned firehouse-turned-shelter. We were inspired by past human rights struggles, such as the fight to end slavery, the struggle for civil rights, calls for immigration with dignity, the labor movement, the fight for international economic justice and other human rights and justice movements. For the first years of our founding, we focused on understanding the root causes of poverty and dedicated ourselves to organizing around universal human rights. The Living Wages at Camden Yards Campaign was developed out of this process.

2002 Founding Years – Eutaw Street Shelter

2007 – Living Wage Victory at Camden Yards

The Living Wages at Camden Yards Campaign resulted in raised wages for cleaners at the stadium from a flat rate that averaged less than $4.50 an hour in 2003 to the state’s living wage rate of $11.30 an hour. As a result, each year more than $300,000 has shifted to meeting the needs of low-wage workers and families, instead of profiting exploitive temp agencies paying poverty wages. After a three year struggle, workers announced that a hunger strike of 14 workers and allies would commence without a living wages solution by September 1, 2007. On the day of the deadline, Governor O’Malley called on the publicly owned stadium to shift policy and pay cleaners a living wage.

Fair Development at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

Human Rights Zone Campaign

On October 25, 2008 we declared Baltimore’s Inner Harbor a “Human Rights Zone.” After a prayer breakfast at Light Street Presbyterian Church, workers and allies gathered at Camden Yards and then marched to the Inner Harbor. Leading the march was a flag with the words “Human Rights Zone,” which was carried by a Harbor worker. The flag was symbolically planted at the Harbor as we declared our commitment to fight for the human rights to health care, education and work with dignity for all workers at the Harbor. The Human Rights Zone campaign will secure these rights for all low-wage workers, across sectors and employers, at the Inner Harbor.

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