City Union of Baltimore President Antoinette Ryan-Johnson
Statement on State Takeover of
Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant
“It is of the utmost importance that the state and city ensure that sewage and wastewater run off does not pollute the Chesapeake Bay. Our members at wastewater treatment facilities across the city are eager to do everything in their power to give those in the Baltimore region trust in the safety and cleanliness of our environment. We welcome updated infrastructure and other necessary mechanical and technical improvements that will help our members do their jobs.
Most important for us however is the question of resources. Neither the city nor the state can continue to understaff and under-resource environmental agencies and expect to ensure the safety of our community. Environmental safety is public safety, and it is imperative we fund it as such. Hiring and retaining well-qualified workers is an important investment in human infrastructure. Both the city and state must understand environmental welfare to be a public safety issue and devote the resources to it that we would otherwise commit to other agencies that provide public safety.
CUB members stand ready, as we always have, to follow the direction of leadership. We are willing to do the work necessary to keep our community safe, but that work must come with investments. First the investments must be made in properly staffing the workers who keep our environment clean. This also includes making sure we are offering a competitive salary so we can retain the high-quality workers who are trained with the skills to keep our communities safe. We must also make technical investments, so those workers are using the equipment and tools that are best capable of helping them do their jobs. We recognize the financial commitment necessary for this but believe the public’s safety is worth it.”