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Camden Yards Worker Speaks Out On Angelos


Guest Dennis Burns
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Guest Dennis Burns

As workers, students, unions, and communities of faith prepare for the United Workers Association's upcoming protest at Camden Yards, Dennis Burns, a former worker at Camden Yards to time to be interviewed. Dennis is part of the organizing team putting together a protest at Camden Yards for June 17th at 6:30pm. The rally is set to take place at the Eutaw Street entrance.

 

UWA volunteer: How did you get involved with the UWA?

 

Dennis: I was staying at the shelter that the UWA was having there meetings at. I sat in on one of the meetings and became interested in participating.

 

UWA volunteer: Did you have experience with day labor and Camden Yards?

 

Dennis: Yeah. I worked Camden Yards power-washing the seats through a company called Stacor. I was power-washing the seats. I had my own section of Camden Yards to wash after the blowers came through blowing the trash down. I never got paid for that job.

 

UWA volunteer: Describe working conditions at Camden Yards?

 

Dennis: It’s border line slave labor. You’re worked half-to-death with little time for breaks. The bosses are very mean to you, they swear at you. You work eight to ten hours late into the night and no matter what kind of weather there is.

 

UWA volunteer: Why do you think working conditions are so bad?

 

Dennis: Because the majority of the people working there are low wage workers, some of whom are homeless and they are seen as easily exploitable. The bosses think that because there are so many low wage and homeless workers out there that they are expendable.

 

UWA volunteer: You brought this to the attention of Peter Angelos, the owner of the Orioles…?

 

Dennis: We did a couple of rallies at Camden Yards and we have sent hundreds of postcards to him and have had four actions in front of his office on Lexington and Charles. Angelos’s staff met with us right before the beginning of last season. I was at that meeting. They promised us that Peter Angelos was for the workers. They promised to support us publicly.These promises were broken. He has never said a word in public about working conditions or supporting us at Camden Yards.

 

UWA volunteer: Did Peter Angelos promise the workers a living wage this season?

 

Dennis: Yes. He has not come through on that and there has been no indication from him that he intends on supporting a living wage at Camden Yards. We recently met with Roger Hayden, the head of Baseball Operations at Camden Yards who said that Angelos thinks that earning $7 an hour is enough. Angelos has this reputation as a friend to labor and a supporter of workers' rights. This reputation is not true. People like Rupert Murdoch are better friends of labor because at least they are honest about their anti-labor views. Angelos is a part of one of the worst sweatshops in Baltimore City and has done nothing but make false promises to the workers. And its insulting because this fight is about our lives, the lives of hundreds of day laborers where the difference between $7 and the city living wage of $8.85 means being able to take care of basic needs like putting food on the table and paying rent. Angelos doesn't seem to understand what we go through.

 

UWA volunteer: Why are you protesting on June 17th?

 

That is Union Night at Camden Yards. We feel that if we do an action that evening we can get a lot of union support and show Angelos that the whole community of workers demands a living wage. We have already received support from AFSCME. So we are looking forward to a really big night… we also have a choir coming to perform. And workers are out organizing other workers to come… so it’s getting exciting around here.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I never knew about this until I read your post. Please post again and let me and the public know if anything has developed. Two beers at an Orioles game is much more than the $8.85 living wage.

 

Honestly, I do not think the majority of fans know about this. Keep the pressure on Angelos and hopefully public opinion (although in Washington it already stinks) will force him to meet your demands.

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