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Ballpark Workers Protest Peanut Wages

(This event was endorsed by the Baltimore IWW) 

On June 17, 2005 the United Workers Association held a protest against Orioles owner Peter Angelos at Camden Yards. More than 100 United Workers Association members and their supporters threw “peanuts for poverty wages” at a model of Angelos and passed out peanuts to fans arriving for Friday’s game.

“Peter Angelos is a lying cheat, full of broken promises. He’s a cheating billionaire who says one thing and does another when it comes to ending poverty wages at the ballpark,” said James Riddick, a member of the United Workers Association.

Earlier that day members of the United Workers Association went to Angelos’s office on deliver package of peanuts for poverty wages. Security at Angelos’s office refused the shoe and the peanuts for poverty wages. Afterwards Angelos’s top aide, Tom Murudas, made a veiled threat to sue the organization of homeless and other low-wage workers for saying that Angelos “cheats workers.”

The United Workers Association would welcome a lawsuit between a baseball billionaire like Angelos and the homeless workers who clean up after Angelos’s baseball games.

Angelos’s top aide Marudas called Todd Cherkis, an organizer with the United Workers Association, and left a voice mail to imply that a lawsuit may be in the works over signs charging Angelos with cheating workers and paying peanuts for poverty wages. On the voice mail (which is available for reporters to listen to), Marudas said that the United Workers Association is “on legal softground” and that Angelos is “not going to take kindly to it [the signs].”

“We call Angelos a cheat for lying to workers, and he threatens to sue us. If he thinks we’re going to back down, he’s wrong,” said Riddick.

The United Workers Association organizes the low-wage workers of Maryland.
Why is the United Workers Association focusing on Peter Angelos?

Broken promise. Cheated workers.
Angelos made a promise to workers to make sure that they got paid a living wage, and he’s breaking that promise. Angelos promised that he’d make up the difference between a poverty wage to a living wage.

The buck stops with Angelos.
It is a common practice of billionaires like Angelos to outsource poverty jobs. By outsourcing the dirty work of cleaning up the ballpark, Angleos profits on the backs of a poverty-wage workforce.

What about the recent raise from $4 an hour to the current wage?

A poverty wage is a poverty wage. The United Workers Association isn’t fighting for a raise. We’re fighting to move wages from poverty levels to living-wage levels.

No bragging rights for poverty wages.
Billionaires don’t get bragging rights for paying poverty wages.

Who is the United Workers Association?
The United Workers Association organizes the low-wage workforce in Maryland.

Sweatshop Baseball is our campaign to organize clean-up and other low-wage workers at Camden Yards. The campaign started in 2003 with just over two dozen members. In 2004 the association successfully pressured the Stadium Authority to replace Aramark, a notorious abuser of workers rights, with the current contractor Knight Facilities Management. Currently over 200 ballpark workers are members of the association. Knight Facilities Management and their subcontractors have agreed to the United Workers Association Code of Conduct to recognize the association as the workers representation.

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