U.S. Space & Rocket Center employees sue for unpaid Alabama Holidays

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Three employees of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center are suing the tourist attraction. The employees say the center has made them work Alabama state holidays for decades.

Some of those holidays include Robert E. Lee’s birthday, Confederate Memorial Day, Jefferson Davis’ birthday, George Washington’s birthday, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday and American Indian Heritage Day.

The lawsuit currently lists only three employees but states there is the potential for more to be added later as part of a class-action lawsuit.

The suit states that because the center has not complied with paid state holiday regulations it has “deprived USS&RC employees of benefits they should have otherwise received.”

The suit also alleges, as is reported in a January state audit, that the Space & Rocket Center did not provide full “longevity” bonuses each December as state law requires for state employees.

The attorneys say the audit states, “The Commission provides 6 fewer holidays to its employees than are mandated by state law.”

The lawsuit demands the center award to its employees the holidays provided by the Code of Alabama 1975, Section 1-3-8(a). The audit also says the Center had miscalculated longevity payments and should recalculate and pay employees “the total amount of all underpayments.”

The full list of state holidays is listed below.

Alabama Code on state holidays

(a) Sunday, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Robert E. Lee’s birthday, George Washington’s birthday, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday, Confederate Memorial Day, National Memorial Day, Jefferson Davis’ birthday, the Fourth day of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day and Fraternal Day, Veterans’ Day, American Indian Heritage Day, and the day designated by the Governor for public thanksgiving shall each be deemed a holiday. If any holiday falls on Sunday, the following day is the holiday. If any holiday falls on Saturday, the preceding day is the holiday….

(b) Of the above enumerated legal public holidays, the following shall be observed on the dates herein prescribed:

(1) Robert E. Lee’s birthday – the third Monday in January.

(2) George Washington’s birthday – the third Monday in February.

(3) Confederate Memorial Day – the fourth Monday in April.

(4) Jefferson Davis’ birthday – the first Monday in June.

(5) Columbus Day and Fraternal Day – the second Monday in October.

(6) Veterans’ Day – the eleventh day of November.

(7) Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday – the third Monday in January.

(8) National Memorial Day – the last Monday in May.

(9) Thomas Jefferson’s birthday – the third Monday in February.

(10) American Indian Heritage Day – the second Monday in October.

(c) In addition to the legal holidays provided above, Mardi Gras shall be deemed a holiday in Mobile and Baldwin Counties and all state offices shall be closed in those counties on Mardi Gras.

(d) In addition to the legal holidays provided above all state employees, except those employed in Baldwin and Mobile Counties, shall be granted one personal leave day per year …. All state employees employed in Baldwin and Mobile Counties shall be granted no personal leave day.


  • Nuclear Mike

    About time!!! The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is nothing but a corrupt Alabama political pork barrel for a very few!!!
    We stopped any of our Families from going and none of our visiting friends from going there now for almost 7 years ever since Mike Wing laid bare the corruption that continues to this very day!

    • John

      It’s funny because you have absolutely no idea what your talking about. Thank you for spreading your ignorant, worthless opinion

    • Joe

      Yeah, they hire….their friends. Barnhart and the Upper Managers are all hiring thier friends and relatives and pushing other employees out to do so. Where is the Board and the Auditors on these????

  • Brainst0rms

    Do state offices still close for all those dates? I’ve never even heard of a unique AL state American Indian heritage day.

  • Wes

    This is not the first time we have heard about poor treatment of their employees. My recommendation would be a total makeover beginning at the top. Every busines that wants to be successful must understand your only as good as your employees make you look. Keep them happy and good things will follow. Employees need to understand it’s their job to go the extra mile to msake their boss look good, it works both ways. When both sides are happy, the possibilities are endless. It’s not rocket science (no pun intended)

  • Branko Pezdi

    Perhaps the question should be why are taxpayer-funded state employees getting so many holidays.

  • Don

    A friend tells me that a person he knows works for the state, and they don’t get much vacation to make up for all the holidays.

  • Jeanne

    Poor treatment! I counted 17 holidays when I added Christmas, Easter, thanksgiving, fourth of July , memorial day, etc. The employees say they have been “cheated” out
    of six of them. That still leaves eleven holidays. Add vacation time to these holidays and it sure sounds like a good deal to me, better than any I or anyone else I know got in the real world. Were these employees paid for the days they worked? Hourly wage or extra holiday pay? No evenings? I don’t know, but if it were me I’m not sure I’d call attention to what seems like a good deal in today’s world where a lot of us are considered salaried and expected to work fifty or more hours a week and better not complain.

    • Jammie

      It’s funny how everyone wants to give their personal opinions without having the facts. We have to be at the space center from 6:00 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. EVERYDAY!!!!!! While most of you are happy with your 9-5 jobs where you receive holiday pay, vacation time, yearly bonuses etc. we’re surviving off of minimum wage with NO overtime pay. Most of us are in school and we receive no sympathy to the fact. I’m glad this was brought to the media’s attention because maybe now some change will come.

  • Jammie

    we’re not all millionaires like you are sir. -___- and this is AMERICA even with my bachelors and masters in biology a job is still hard to come by. Therefore I can’t just quit. Smh

    • Brainst0rms

      Not sure what your specialty is in biology but Gulf Coast area had some jobs in biology fields advertised. No clue what the details were, nor whether relocation is possible for you now. Good luck in finding your job in your desired field.

  • Worker

    We make no money, work poor hours n we are never able to sit down. So all of u making negative comments can keep them to yourself. Try working maybe 25 to 30 hours per week making minimum wages. We work hard and never feel appreciated. Upper management won’t even speak. I have a Masters degree but can’t find a job in my field. I’m glad someone shared this now maybe things will change.

  • ex employee

    I’ll be very interested to see how this turns out. For everyone whining that these people should be glad to have any job at all, understand it isn’t a regular 9 to 5; it’s a 6am-11pm. In many cases, employees work double shifts and rack up 80 hours per week, and in some cases even triple shifts. They are given no breaks whatsoever during the day. They aren’t allowed to leave their camp team. They rarely get to sit down- in fact, during one of the few activities during which it would reasonable for them to sit down, they were told by management that they were no longer allowed to- that they must stand lest the visitors to the Space and Rocket center think they hire lazy employees.

    During parts of the year, Space Camp lets some of its employees go home a few hours early each night and those who remain must take on the extra camp teams, which means (as has happened to me) a tired employee will be the sole adult looking after up to forty young campers (that was the highest it’s probably ever been, but it got close often). It’s as hard as it sounds, and it doesn’t seem safe or legal. It’s nearly impossible to do a head count or maintain order at that point.

    Further, every year Space Camp “fires” and “re-hires” all of its employees so they don’t have to give out normal full-time benefits. Everyone knows to expect their week and it has become a joke. I’m fired this week, so I’ll be visiting my family.

    So everyone else can stop non-sensing until the facts are out.

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