PRESS RELEASE: As Space Needle Workers Gain Traction for a Fair Contract, Local Unions Picket in Solidarity
After months of inactivity, the Space Needle agrees to federal mediation with workers’ union to settle job security battle.
What: Informational picket and press conference in front of the Space Needle with labor and community leaders calling for a fair contract and job security for the nearly 200 workers at the Needle.
When: 12:15pm, Thursday March 14, 2013
Where: Space Needle, 400 Broad St. Seattle WA 98102
Who: Jeff Johnson, President of Washington State Labor Council. Tracey Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117; and Roberto Ramirez, Space Needle Server Assistant and union activist. More Space Needle workers available for interview.
Background: After months of inactivity, the Space Needle agrees to come back to the negotiation table with their workers’ union through federal mediation on March 28, 2013. The company had ramped up their anti-union campaign over the last two years when they fired and suspended union activists, denied overtime pay to its workers, created dangerous workloads for its kitchen staff, and racked up several Unfair Labor Practice charges pending with the federal government. Now workers are expected to continue the last leg of the fight and demand job security in their contract.
In the days leading up to the mediation, local Seattle labor leaders are rallying their support for the Space Needle workers as they prepare the next phase of their campaign. “It’s disappointing to see an iconic Seattle landmark like the Space Needle treat their workers unfairly, and we in the labor community will not stand for it,” says Jeff Johnson, president of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Union activists will show their strong support for Space Needle workers on a picket line thisThursday at 12:15pm.
“We’re not asking for the moon, all we’re asking for is some sense of job security. I don’t want to have to constantly worry that I might be fired or laid off just because my manager found somebody willing to work for less money. I’ve been part of the Space Needle family for the last six years, and it’s time for them to finally treat us like part of the family,” says Crystal Doll, a Sky City restaurant cook.
“The Space Needle is currently demanding that the City Council protect views of the Needle from South Lake Union,” notes Erik Van Rossum, President of UNITE HERE Local 8, the union representing nearly 200 Space Needle workers. “They want a sense of security from the city, and yet they have not given their workers any security.”
Van Rossum adds: “I would like to have a view of a Seattle landmark that respects Seattle workers.”
UNITE HERE Local 8 represents about 4,000 workers in the hospitality industries of Washington and Oregon State. Local 8 members work in hotels, restaurants, food service, and airport concessions. They include room cleaners, cooks, bartenders, bellmen, food and beverage servers, bussers, and dishwashers.