Space Needle workers march in solidarity on June 19, 2015. • Photos by Jacqueline Wu
Space Needle workers march in solidarity on June 19, 2015. • Photos by Jacqueline Wu

On the morning of June 19, workers, labor unions, Seattle City Council officials, and allies gathered outside the Space Needle to protest stagnant wages.

Workers at the Space Needle said they have gone on for more than 1,000 days without a raise, and as the cost of living in Seattle continues to rise.

Unite Here Local 8 said the Space Needle withheld raises for workers and used a bait-and-switch tactic when it offered workers raises in exchange for their rights to unionize. A key part of the labor dispute also involves the Space Needle’s stance on subcontractors.

Workers said they are persistent in holding onto their jobs and improving their contract with the Space Needle.

“We are not going to be quiet and back down. We are going to continue this fight as long as it takes.” said Veronic Chernickenko, a valet cashier at the Space Needle.

“There has been a lot of unfair treatment to every employee,” Chernickenko said. “It’s more than about not having raises. We’re talking about job security here. We’re talking about a process to have managers treat their employees the way they should.”

The Space Needle debuted at the 1962 World’s Fair, inspired by a space-age future. However, in imaging tomorrow’s advancements, what would Seattle look like? Will Seattle be the pinnacle of society? Would labor disputes exist? Will employers continue implementing exploitative tactics?

53 years later, Seattle is no closer to the space age. But the Space Needle still stands and has become a symbol of the city. Yet the irony is that the Space Needle is a symbol for Seattle, tomorrow, and hope, but employers of the Space Needle continue to treat their workers unfairly.

“More people are going to come.” Chernickenko, said. “We’re going to have more departments show up and support. We’re going to be in a fight one day longer than they are.”

Workers spoke with company officials regarding a raise and job security, but the Space Needle continues to withhold from employees.

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