FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3/18/2015
Councilmember Licata Statement Regarding Space Needle Strike
SEATTLE – Councilmember Nick Licata issued the following statement regarding his participation in the Space Needle strike, which occurred earlier today:
“Long-running labor tensions at the Space Needle reflect poorly on our city. Earlier this week I wrote a letter to Space Needle President and CEO Ron Sevart, citing Seattle’s hospitality industry as being critical to the prosperity of our local economy – prosperity in which I believe our workers should share. According to the union, the Space Needle has refused to give its cooks, elevator operators, greeters and other workers a raise for 3 years, instead offering their employees a webinar on how to “live on less.” As employees have continued to work under a contract that expired in 2012, Space Needle management has been ordered by the National Labor Relations Board to stop its anti-union activities, to pay back dues it owes the union, and to rehire two seasonally-laid off employees with back pay.
“Sadly, this is not a novel story. In 2013, I wrote a similar letter specific to the “genuine concern” I had then, and continue to have now, for these workers and their families. This morning I stood proudly with our state Labor Council President and Space Needle workers, who are members of Unite Here Local 8 during a heartfelt demonstration. I’ve urged the Space Needle’s management to drop its appeal of the recent National Labor Relations Board ruling. Doing so would end the futility of fighting federally-protected union activities while restoring my and their employees’ pride, faith and trust in the Space Needle Corporation.
“According to the Associated Press, union membership has been steadily declining since the 1980s, when it measured at 20 percent of all workers. In 2014, only 11.1 percent nationally belonged to a union. Nationwide efforts are underway to weaken organized labor, which subsequently serve to shrink union membership. Like President Obama, I feel it’s inexcusable that, over the past several years, just when middle-class families and workers need that kind of security the most, there’s been a sustained, coordinated assault on unions, led by powerful interests and their allies in government.”
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