Take the High Road On Construction in Baltimore

by: Mark Coles
September 21, 2016

Today’s construction industry is two-faced.

One model in construction combines jobs, high-quality training, and education to put workers on a career path with sustainable wages and benefits – the “high road” model. Another, revealed in a 2014 McClatchy Newspapers investigative report, exploits workers in dangerous, low-paying jobs with no upward mobility – the “low road” model.

Unfortunately, Baltimore’s construction market has thrived on the detrimental “low road” model for several decades now – but there’s hope for change. By approving a Community Benefits Agreement for Sagamore Development’s Port Covington project, the Baltimore City Council can create safe, sustainable job opportunities for members of our community.
Under a CBA, developers agree to hire workers in the community where they’re building – and give them decent wages and benefits.

CBAs starkly contrast with the history of Baltimore’s construction market. In 2005, the Maryland government tried to cut all funding for the Prevailing Wage Office – the office that makes sure workers on public construction projects earn fair, livable wages. Despite rain and sleet, Baltimore construction workers joined 1,500 workers’ rights advocates to protest the injustice.

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