By JoAnne Powers
On Monday, the Baltimore City Council passed a measure to provide protections for displaced service workers. The law would require new contractors who take over a contract from competitors to retain workers for at least 90 days. The law will affect thousands of workers, largely those in security, food service, maintenance and cleaning. The legislation now moves to the city’s mayor for signing. Unions supporting the bill say it will provide greater stability for low-wage workers.
13th district councilwoman Shannon Sneed introduced the measure.
[Shannon Sneed]: “It affects folks that were working right in this building, in city hall. When we first moved in--I tell this story all the time—basically, a worker here who comes in the evenings to clean the building…she had been working in the building for quite a number of years [under different administrations]. She said, ‘it was nice meeting you, it seems like you all will do well, but I won’t be seeing you anymore.’ And she then explained to me that she was a contract worker and a new contract was coming. They weren’t being notified [when situations are changing.] Folks weren’t leaving…they were being fired because a new contractor was coming on. She didn’t know what she was going to do next because she didn’t know what the future was going to hold. A lot of them don’t make a lot of money, don’t have savings they can fall back on. And so, this allows them to get their house in order so they can prepare for the future.”