Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Labor Struggle at the Space Needle

Dear Friends in Olympia,
Space Needle workers and Unite Here! Local 8 are
facing a major struggle with the Space Needle in
Seattle. We have a campaign website online now with
all kinds of information.(www.greedyspaceneedle.info)

If you have time, come to Seattle for our rally on
August 18th. You can also support the workers by
writing a letter, e-mail, or Fax to Space Needle
management (info is available on the website!).

Thanks for your help, in solidarity

Stefan Moritz
Union Organizer, Unite Here Local 8
Office: (206) 728-2326, Ext. 24
Fax: (206) 728-9772
E-mail: stefan@herelocal8.org

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pizza Time Negotiations Break Down

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

The former Pizza Time workers met with owner Heath Flores to discuss the reinstatement of four workers who lost their jobs in February. Flores broke off negotiations on Tuesday by flatly refusing all six terms of the written proposal. We had hoped Flores would work with us to reach an agreement. We offered to draw up a new proposal with Flores’ input, but that idea was refused as well. Flores’ final offer was the same as his first—we could turn in applications and may be hired and fired at will. We feel Flores is not taking the negotiations seriously and never intended to consider our position.

History of Negotiations with Heath Flores

The former Pizza Time workers tried to arrange a meeting three times before the store re-opened, but were met with closed minds on each occasion. On July 20th we returned to the corner of 4th and Jefferson to hold picket signs and share our story. At this point Flores agreed to meet and discuss the terms for reinstatement in writing.
At the first two negotiation meetings on July 29th and August 1st, we made it clear that there was no animosity against Flores personally; what we wanted was resolution for the injustices served to us by former owners Shane Bloking and Richard Kelley. We asked Flores to recognize that the workers’ unity and the community’s stand for justice ultimately drove Shane Bloking out of the state, and gave Flores the opportunity to own Olympia Pizza Time.
To mend the injustices, we asked for reinstatement and basic recognition of our rights and 5½ month long struggle. Our one-page proposal included recognition for the Olympia Workers Association, the organization we created when all the Pizza Time employees united on February 11. It also included a non-discrimination agreement to ensure we would be treated the same as our replacements, a just-cause provision for job security, and an agreement to give us a voice at Pizza Time. To see the proposal, go to http://olympiaworkers.org/proposal.htm. We made it clear we did not want to displace those who had recently found employment at Pizza Time, and would only take work when it became available.
Flores told us we needed to give him a chance by re-applying for work without any agreement or recognition. He also noted he would have to check references, since he wasn’t sure if we were qualified enough to work at Pizza Time. We made it clear we could not return without assurance that our rights would be respected.
The first two meetings indicated Flores would be willing to work things out and finally set things right. We offered to sit with Flores to develop an agreement all would be happy with, but he refused. The proposal was revised to make it as clear, non-threatening, and bare-bones as possible, to see if Flores would better understand our needs.
The third meeting on August 2nd was disappointing, as he seemed resigned to end negotiations and refuse to recognize the Olympia Workers Association. In classic union-busting prose, he claimed he was such a nice guy we didn’t need any unity or just cause, and refused to sign. Flores said that to be fair he had promised the replacement workers he would not consider our terms. He said it took every ounce of his training as a repo-man to remain calm over the past few weeks, and for that we were indebted to him.
After many concessions we refused to give up the Olympia Workers Association, and felt we owed ourselves, our supporters, and our community nothing less. We implored Flores to work with us to repair the reputation of Olympia Pizza Time and resolve the long and tiring dispute. In the end Heath Flores decided keeping the Olympia Workers Association out of his business was more important than giving a guarantee that unjust labor practices have no place in Pizza Time.
We would like to thank everyone who has inspired us and supported us throughout the whole ordeal. The struggle for workers rights in Olympia is not over. Wherever workers are treated unfairly and want to do something about it the Olympia Workers Association and the Pizza Time workers will be there.