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Space Needle settles, pays illegally fired union supporter

The following is from UNITE HERE Local 8:

15Mar18-space-needle_nathan1SEATTLE (Feb. 17, 2016) — The Space Needle has reached settlement with fired union activist Fernando Jimenez, a servers’ assistant at the SkyCity Restaurant who recently welcomed his second child and had worked at the Needle for seven years when management wrongfully terminated him in March of last year.

“I feel like I was treated unfairly and I’m glad to see them being held accountable,” Jimenez said. “I know my coworkers will continue to stand up for what’s right at the Needle and hope that other workers who’ve been discriminated against for supporting the union will also be made whole.”

The National Labor Relations Board complaint, issued in October 2015, reflects just one of more than a dozen Unfair Labor Practice charges filed against the Needle since the company unilaterally ended its union contract with UNITE HERE Local 8 in May 2012.

Jimenez’s settlement includes a $24,000 payout as well as back pay for another affected worker.

The Space Needle will also be required to post a notice informing workers of their union rights and committing to refrain from discrimination against union supporters. The required posting states, in part, “WE WILL NOT discharge our employees because of their support for, or activities on behalf of, the Union.”

In January 2015, the NLRB concluded that the Needle had previously retaliated against two SkyCity workers for supporting the union, refusing to recall Tracy McCauley and Julia Dube to work after a routine seasonal layoff. McCauley and Dube are still awaiting reinstatement and back pay while the Space Needle drags the decision out in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The Space Needle’s been trying to bust our union for years,” said Shop Steward and restaurant server Lou Christensen. “Fernando’s victory shows that we are stronger than ever and that the Needle is realizing this is a fight they can’t win.”

For more information on the labor dispute at the Space Needle, visit

unite-here-8-logoUNITE HERE Local 8, the hospitality union of the Pacific Northwest, represents nearly 5,000 workers in hospitality and foodservice throughout Washington and Oregon, including SkyCity restaurant employees, banquet servers, elevator operators, greeters, and other workers at the Space Needle.

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