St. Elizabeths East

St. Elizabeths East is the District of Columbia’s largest redevelopment site, with five million square feet of development potential and adjacency to the new, sprawling headquarters of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at St. Elizabeths West, which is currently under construction.

St. Elizabeths East campus was transferred to the District of Columbia in 1987.

The problem

The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development recently released a request for proposal (RFP) to develop a 4.29-acre parcel of land on the St. Elizabeths East site. Unfortunately, the did not specify that the project should be built union. This is part of a destructive pattern in District development projects, which tout job creation to drum up community support, and then deliver poverty wages, rapid gentrification, and the displacement of long-term D.C. residents.

When projects aren’t built union, they take significantly longer and tend to have far more injuries and even deaths at the worksite. When unions aren’t involved. the city’s track record of making sure that D.C. residents get jobs on these worksites is terrible. More often than not, it’s out-of-state workers and city transplants that benefit from new developments – at the expense of the city’s working-class, long-term residents.

We can’t let that happen at St. Elizabeths East.

The Opportunity

To ensure that this new parcel in St. Elizabeths East reduces, rather than exacerbates inequality in Ward 8, it must be built and operated with union labor. Making sure that it’s a union project will create quality jobs for local residents, which guarantee fair wages, healthcare, and safety and dignity on the job. We also know that when a project is built union, like the South Capitol Street Bridge, it gets finished faster and more efficiently.

Because St. Elizabeths East is a district project, the City Council will vote on whether or not it can go forward. The Council needs to hear from you about making St. Elizabeths East a good deal for Ward 8 residents. Call your council member to demand:

  • That they attach agreements to the site ensuring that it’s built and operated by union labor;
  • That they guarantee that the jobs created primarily benefit Ward 8 residents; and
  • That they put in place strong protections against the displacement of long-term residents living near the site.