Baltimore, MD— Joining a groundswell of concern
s over whether massive Tax Increment Financing for Beatty Development Group LLC’s Harbor Point will benefit all city residents, private security officers will testify at tonight’s Baltimore City Council hearing. Officers who earn as little as $9 per hour at Harbor Point, drastically below the City’s Living Wage of $11.07 are helping to launch a petition, social media and online ad campaign targeting Mayor Rawlings and the TIF approval process by shining a light on Beatty’s developments’ use of irresponsible security contractors.
32BJ SEIU estimates that taxpayers could save over $33 million dollars in the next decade if Baltimore’s security contractors raised standards for the 1,000 officers employed in the City, to the point that no officers relied on food stamps or public health insurance.
“If I get sick, it means I’m not going to be able to pay rent. If I do call in sick they tell me I have to get a doctors notice, but what they don’t tell me is how to pay for that doctor’s visit,” says Anthony Thompson-Shaw, a Brantley-employed security officer at Harbor East who lives in Southwest Baltimore. “There’s a lot of turnover, it isn’t safe to always having new people learning the system and it hurts moral because we all know we are completely expendable.” Brantley Security pays officers as little as $9 per hour at Harbor Point.
Security officers who work in Baltimore are over three times more likely than all Baltimore workers to receive public health insurance and three times more likely to receive food stamps. Adequate pay also has been shown to help keep more experienced security officers on the job and can better enable officers to respond to – and help prevent – emergency situations.
“Mayor Rawlings and City Council must ensure that over $100 million in taxpayer money for Harbor Point will create family-sustaining jobs to help our struggling communities,” said Jaime Contreras, Vice President and Capital Area District Director for 32BJ SEIU. “Our leaders shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing poverty jobs that hold our communities back and exacerbate Baltimore’s stubbornly high crime rate.”
With more than 125,000 members in nine states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area and Baltimore, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.