The following is from Allyship LGBTQ, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organization seeking to work in solidarity with marginalized communities to understand the interconnectedness of oppression. (Also see news coverage in The Seattle Times.)
The sponsoring organizations are LGBTQ Allyship, PrideFest, Entre Hermanos, Ingersoll Gender Center, The NW LGBT Senior Care Providers Network, Pride At Work AFL-CIO, Social Outreach Seattle, The Seattle Lesbian, Trans Lives Matter, and Gender Justice League representing tens of thousands of LGBTQ and allied individuals.
The Seattle LGBT Commission sent letters to the Seattle City Council and Mayor McGinn recommending the mayor and City Council support these two requests. The Space Needle Corp. has not yet agreed to either request.
LGBTQ persons make up a significant percentage of the hospitality industry workforce in the greater Seattle area. Workers at the Space Needle have gone for two years without a contract and are currently seeking a contract that guarantees fair working conditions, including living wages, health care benefits, and job security.
LGBTQ communities in Seattle and around the country experience higher rates of being uninsured and unemployed than the national average. Advocating for living wages and access to affordable health care in the hospitality industry directly impacts LGBTQ communities.
The Space Needle Corp. flew the flag in 2010. In 2011, they flew the flag after compelling the LGBTQ community to raise $50,000 for four LGBTQ organizations. In 2012, during the drive for marriage equality, the Space Needle refused to fly the rainbow flag.
Seattle has the second largest LGBTQ community in the country. LGBTQ individuals have enjoyed civil rights in Seattle since the 1970s and recently won marriage equality. The LGBT leaders said it is time that the symbol of Seattle reflects the values of its citizens by flying the rainbow flag yearly during Pride month, and show fairness to the workers underneath the flag by committing to a fair union contract that upholds their human dignity in all its forms.
For more information about the Space Needle workers’ contract, visit UNITE HERE Local 8’s website.