A group 15-20 Unite Here! Local 8 union members met with Seattle City Council members Kshama Sawant, Nick Licata, Jean Godden, Mike O’Brien, and Sally Clark to discuss the current wage dispute between Space Needle workers and the Wright family, owners of the Space Needle. After presenting the council members with a poster showing photos of 120 Space Needle employees holding signs that read “I Deserve A Raise”, two employees from the Space Needle spoke about their low wages and to the experiences of their co-workers. Seattle Council Members expressed support for the workers struggle and offered to help in any way they could.
After talking to Seattle City Council, the union members then attempted to deliver the same photo petition to the CEO Ron Sevart and were prevented from doing so by the public relations director, Dave Mandapat. After listening to the workers speak to why they deserved a raise, Mr. Mandapat took the petition and promised to deliver to the CEO, stating that “an appointment is necessary to see the CEO”, regardless of the open door policy.
“Space Needle workers have been waiting for a new union contract since 2011, and many departments haven’t had a raise since the last contract was valid. The Space Needle company and it’s owners have been actively anti-union in the past four years, using scare tactics to discourage union membership. Despite the fact that the family is worth six billion dollars and the elevators can make up to $20,000 in one hour, the workers there have had to fight their employers for a living wage. While the National Labor Relations board did find the Space Needle guilty on many different counts, the owners are actively appealing every guilty verdict they received. I have found the disparity between how the company wants to be viewed as the symbol of Seattle, and the way they continue to disrespect their workers to be a constant disappointment.” – Jessica Severance, 4 year Space Needle employee