SEATTLE, April 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A report released this week reveals how Seattle hospitality industry practices keep workers in poverty with low wages and inadequate health benefits, enduring pain and injury. The report sets the stage for divergent events taking place this Saturday—the daylong 50th anniversary festivities at the Seattle Center and distressed workers walking the picket line to protest job insecurity and working conditions in the shadow of the Space Needle's hovering disk that houses an exclusive restaurant. These workers have grave concerns about such issues as job security and the outsourcing of their jobs and they're angry that contract negotiations have stalled.
"All around us we see signs talking about the 'next fifty' years," says Crystal Doll, a line cook at the Space Needle. "But the next fifty years for workers like me are nothing to celebrate if we can't get job security, decent wages and health care."
What: Picket Line at Space Needle
When: Saturday, April 21, 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Where: Space Needle, Broad and John Streets
Who: Over 100 Seattle tourism workers, including Space Needle workers, and supporters
Seattle's downtown hotel sector is set for widely projected growth and profitability, yet industry practices keep workers, mostly people of color and family breadwinners, living paycheck to paycheck. Many even qualify for public assistance for health care costs, for food and housing.
The report from Puget Sound Sage released yesterday, titled Our Pain, Their Gain: The hidden costs of profitability in Seattle's downtown hotels can be downloaded at: www.pugetsoundsage.org/hotelreport
In Seattle nearly 1,000 hospitality workers call for living wages, affordable health care and job security through collective bargaining actions. They're workers of the Space Needle, the Edgewater, Seattle Hilton, Washington Athletic Club, and the Hyatt at Olive 8, where they're asking management for a fair and neutral process to decide whether or not to join a union.
Space Needle management has been negotiating with workers since May 2011. In February, workers rejected a "last and final" proposal by management that didn't include job protections. The sides meet with federal mediation mid-May.
In glaring contrast, on Saturday evening Space Needle workers will serve at an elite celebratory dinner, though they fear their jobs could be outsourced in the near future.
UNITE HERE Local 8
CONTACT: Jasmine Marwaha: 206-963-6458
SOURCE UNITE HERE Local 8