The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Ocean City, Maryland:
Unaffordable for Summer Workers

Jun 20, 2022

Ocean City—Maryland’s leading beach town, which swells from a population of 7,000 to as many as 300,000 during the summer—is in a crisis. Before the pandemic, the town would attract as many as 15,000 workers for temporary summer jobs, more than a quarter being foreign students on temporary work visas. But this year employers expect only a fraction of the number needed will show up.

The main problem is the lack of housing they can afford. Local landlords used to provide temporary worker housing for around $500 or $600 a month. But during the pandemic they converted these apartments to temporary tourist housing like AirBnB at much higher tourist rates—five or six times higher! So, workers can’t afford at all to live and work in Ocean City.

The answer, proposed by town officials? They want the state to help developers borrow money tax-free to build barracks—oops, dormitories—for temporary workers. No tourists allowed! Officials also promise the developers property tax breaks.

It’s no surprise. What supports the relaxing “salt life” on the coast is the low-paid and highly-exploited work of mostly young people, subsidized by the public—in other words, by the working class.