A growing number of LGBTQ, immigrant rights and labor organizations are teaming up to ask the Space Needle to fly the Rainbow flag during Pride annually and settle its ongoing labor dispute with workers. For the next 30 days till Pride, these communities will launch an online petition as well as weekly direct actions.
This growing collaboration represents what the Pride flag stands for – fairness, equality and human dignity for all. A significant percentage of LGBTQ and immigrant employees in the hospitality industry (which includes restaurants and hotels) lack access to affordable health care and living wages.
“Marriage equality in Washington State legally protects our families, but we also need to ensure that we can economically support our families,” said Ryan Blackhawke, board member of LGBTQ Allyship.
The Space Needle, as the icon of Seattle, can set an example of a just and healthy economy by settling its ongoing labor dispute and by being an example to the rest of the tourism industry.
“I am really proud to work at the symbol of Seattle, but it has been hard to work under a labor dispute the last two years,” says Cisco Cole-Daum, a server at the SkyCity Restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. “I also support the LGBT community and I want to see the Space Needle stand for equality and fairness for everyone.”
Space Needle employees have come out in support of flying the Rainbow flag during Pride by wearing rainbow buttons at work on May 23rd that read ‘Fairness for Everyone’.
Recently, the City of Seattle announced that City Hall would be flying the Rainbow flag during Pride, marking the adoption of marriage equality in Washington State.
“The flag at City Hall is a great step representing Seattle’s commitment to justice,” said Blackhawke. “We hope the most visible symbol of Seattle will follow that example with the flag, as well as bring justice for its workers.”
Supporting organizations include: Pridefest, Entre Hermanos, Ingersoll Gender Center, Pride At Work, Puget Sound Sage, Social Outreach Seattle, Seattle LGBT Commission, The Seattle Lesbian, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Seattle Chapter, Washington Community Action Network, Trans Lives Matter, El Comite Pro-Reforma Migratioria y Justicia Social, Gender Justice League, Casa Latina, UNITE HERE Local 8 and LGBTQ Allyship.