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Unionized hospitality workers in Baltimore to march for better pay

Unionized hospitality workers in Baltimore to march for better pay
Unionized hospitality workers in Baltimore to march for better pay 02:01

BALTIMORE -- Hospitality workers in Baltimore, from hotels to stadiums, are set to march Thursday for equal pay.

The unionized workers say they're struggling financially since they last bargained, pointing to rising prices nearly everywhere.

"Prices for gas and groceries have gone up so much since we last bargained," La'Tan Smith, a cook at the Hilton Baltimore, said in a statement announcing Thursday's demonstration. "As a cook, I make more than a lot of my co-workers, and I still have to choose between paying my car payment and buying food. We shouldn't have to struggle this much just because our bosses think they get away with paying Baltimore workers less."

That's why from 3:30 to 5 P.M., hospitality workers from the Hyatt Regency, Hilton Baltimore, M&T Bank Stadium and Camden Yards will be marching from the Camden Yards Babe Ruth statue to McKeldin Square near the Inner Harbor. 

They say they're honoring Baltimore native Thurgood Marshall's lifelong fight for equality, and standing up for equal pay for equal work.

Unite Here Local 7, which represents over 2,000 hotel, gaming, and food service workers throughout Maryland, is leading the march. The group claims hospitality workers here in Baltimore are paid far less than similar workers in nearby cities. 

Here are some numbers for you to paint a better picture: Union housekeepers at the Hyatt and Hilton downtown are paid $16.20 an hour, while housekeepers at the same national corporations earn $22 per hour in Philadelphia and $26 per hour in D.C.

Stadium workers in Baltimore make an average of $6 less per hour than workers in other East Coast cities, the union said. 

This march comes as the Orioles' opening day approaches. Last year retail workers at Camden Yards bargained for better pay and health benefits through last season with Fanatics, which runs the O's team store, without coming to an agreement.

Many union contracts in Baltimore, including for workers at Camden Yards, expire about two months from now by April 1. 

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