BUILD cuts short meeting with managers of 8 hotels

August 03, 1993|By Michael A. Fletcher | Michael A. Fletcher,Staff Writer

Representatives of BUILD abruptly walked out of a meeting with downtown Baltimore hotel managers yesterday, saying the officials were resisting the community group's efforts to gather information regarding the pay and career opportunities the hotels offer their employees.

In a news conference held in the lobby of the Legg Mason tower, representatives of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD) said they were tired of being "slow-danced" by managers of the eight major downtown hotels and would go directly to workers for the information.

BUILD wants to use the information to buttress its campaign for a "social compact" that would link public subsidies for downtown development to agreements by businesses to improve job opportunities for city residents.

"We have asked for the same information in other meetings and were told it would be forthcoming," said the Rev. Douglas Miles, pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church. "But it has not been."

Jim Biggar, general manager of the Stouffer Harborplace Hotel, said he was "disappointed" that BUILD representatives walked out.

"We came into the meeting with some well-thought-out proposals as to what the eight downtown hotels could do to jTC improve the makeup of their work force," Mr. Biggar said.

Mr. Miles countered that the hotel owners wanted only to talk about programs and not about "fundamental change."

He said BUILD will now work to compile information on its own. The group has established a hot line (225-3882 Mailbox 2) that downtown hotel workers can call to talk about pay and career opportunities. He said BUILD hopes to gather information about the work forces of the downtown hotels in time for a mass meeting next month.

BUILD launched its campaign for a "social compact" in April, contending that the publicly subsidized redevelopment of downtown Baltimore has created only low-paying, "dead-end" jobs -- especially for blacks.

The church-based group has urged that the following conditions be attached to the approval of any public money for downtown projects:

* The creation of more full-time, year-round jobs that pay enough for a worker to support a family and include health and pension benefits.

* An increase in the number of blacks in mid- and upper-level management jobs.

* Establishment of a pool of money to fund career advancement training for downtown workers.

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