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UNITE HERE, Space Needle reach deal covering renovation

SEATTLE (July 10, 2017) — UNITE HERE Local 8 and Space Needle management distributed the following join statement on Friday:

Unite Here! Local 8 and the Space Needle are pleased to announce that we have executed an agreement regarding the construction closure impacts related to the Space Needle’s upcoming renovation project. This agreement was reached through a collaborative collective bargaining process between the parties.

The Space Needle has announced its undertaking of a historic renovation project with construction commencing after Labor Day on September 5, 2017. Because of the innovative approach to construction planning, the project team will be able to keep the Space Needle partially open throughout construction, keeping a significant number (approximately half) of its frontline Team Members employed. However SkyCity and Banquets will be closed during construction due to the level of renovation work to the Restaurant and Service (Mezzanine) levels. As a result, about 150 of the Space Needle Team Members who work in the Restaurant and Banquets will be laid off during this period.

Unite Here! Local 8’s employee bargaining committee and the Space Needle have been engaged in effects bargaining and working toward bridging the impacts of the construction period.

“Layoffs of this level are a major challenge for any group of workers. One of our biggest concerns was that our represented members have the transition assistance they needed due to the disruptive impact of the construction project,” said Erik Van Rossum, President of Unite Here Local 8. “Space Needle management worked on a transition package that addressed their needs, and yesterday we were able to bargain a transition package to that end. While this package doesn’t cover everything, it does include what our members cared about most including financial assistance, extended health care benefits during the closure, the right to return to work with seniority upon reopening, and a payout of any unused vacation and sick leave.”

The executed agreement was reached between Unite Here! Local 8 and the Space Needle on Thursday, July 6th and will go into effect in September 2017.

“We hire the best Team Members in the City,” said Ron Sevart, president and CEO, Space Needle LLC. “We are committed to making the Space Needle relevant for generations to come with this renovation project. We firmly believe that this project will increase the total number of jobs and hours over time, and the long term job security for Space Needle Team Members. While there is no perfect solution for the impacted Team Members, I feel we were able to provide a package that addressed the key concerns of our Team Members.”

Prior to effects bargaining, the union’s bargaining committee and the management of the Space Needle had been engaged in contract negotiations. As part of the newly ratified contract, seniority was preserved throughout the Century Project construction closure plus an additional 120 days. Job-security and strong job safeguards during the upcoming construction were a priority for the Team Members. The latest union contract was unanimously recommended by the union bargaining committee and ratified with a yes vote by the represented Team Members in April 2017.

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