Space Needle Board Member Charlotte Guyman is a former Space Needle elevator operator and an ex-Microsoft employee.
Guyman serves on the Board of Directors of Berkshire Hathaway. Guyman is quoted in the 2012 book The Women of Berkshire Hathaway as stating, “I really enjoyed working with tourists. I kept that job all the way through college, working full-time in the summer and part-time in the winter. It enabled me to live independently and pay for most of my college education. So, I’ve been financially independent since I was 19 years old and I consider myself very lucky for that.”
In June, 2015, current elevator operators reached out to Charlotte Guyman via letter to discuss the labor dispute. Guyman has still yet to respond to workers.
Guyman is both a Berkshire Hathaway board member and a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder.
Berkshire Hathaway owns a number of subsidiary companies. In April, 2015, the Seattle Times and the Center for Public Integrity published an extensive investigation into Berkshire’s mobile home lending and sales practices. In a December, 2015 follow-up, the Seattle Times and BuzzFeed News also reported that the company specifically preyed on minority borrowers.
In an April 29, 2015 editorial, the New York Times editorial board called on Berkshire Hathaway shareholders to question the organization’s mobile home lending practices, stating, “Shareholders who gather this week for Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholder meeting could ask Mr. Buffet what it is about basic consumer protection that Clayton Homes finds so threatening.”
In addition to Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway also wholly-owns BNSF Railroad. BNSF is the largest transporter of crude oil by rail in the U.S. and is investing $1 billion in expanding crude-by-rail in the northern corridor. According to City of Seattle estimates, 8-16 oil trains carrying highly flammable Bakken crude oil pass through Seattle every week. This number will only increase as BNSF’s investments in expansion move forward.
These oil trains pass by Seattle sports stadiums, even during game time, despite direct requests from the City of Seattle. This practice places thousands of people in direct risk of injury or death from a single oil train derailment and explosion.
In a July, 2015 resolution, the Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to call upon BNSF to adopt additional safety standards. The Resolution states, “The City Council further requests that BNSF enact all measures that would minimalize the risks to life and property damage they pose to city residents and workers, including: a. Restricting transport of crude oil through the City during large sporting events at Safeco Field and Century Link field.”
UNITE HERE Local 8 members, who work at Safeco Field and Century Link Field, as well as other hospitality venues within the BNSF oil train blast zone, have joined the City’s call for additional safety standards.
Other Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries include Brooks Running, headquartered in Seattle. View the full list here. Charlotte Guyman serves on the Brooks Running Advisory Board along with former Space Needle Board Member Robbie Bach.