A historic unionization happened yesterday in Park City, Utah. The lift mechanics and electricians of Park City Mountain Resort voted 35-6 in support of unionizing. This makes them the first lift mechanics at a ski resort in the United States to unionize. They’ll be joining CWA Local 7781, which is the United Professional Ski Patrols of America. This includes the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association, which had a very well-publicized battle with the Vail property earlier this year. Lift mechanics and electricians will now have a bigger voice in the operation of the massive Utah ski resort. This is a good move, as they make sure that the large infrastructure network is safe and operational year-round. The official statement from CWA 7781 is below:
Park City Mountain Resort Maintenance Vote to Unionize
Park City, UT — Today, Park City Mountain Resort lift mechanics & electricians voted 35-6 in favor of unionizing with the United Professional Ski Patrols of America, CWA 7781. The vote comes after a monthslong organizing effort, and signifies the first ski resort lift maintenance department in the country to unionize. They have organized as the Park City Lift Maintenance Professional Union.
“By unionizing we are no longer passengers, but active participants in the direction Park City Mountain Resort and Vail Resorts Management Company are headed,” said Christopher Field, an Intermediate Electrician at Park City Mountain Resort. “Through our individual voices and our collective power, I want to create an environment where staff and guests alike can share the ‘Experience of a Lifetime.’”
The mechanics filed the petition for a representation election with the NLRB on October 11th, 2022, with 80% of the unit signed on in support. Members cited chronic understaffing and low pay that is not commensurate with the precarity of their work as issues that could be best addressed by unionizing and speaking together in one united voice.
“Given that we are now unionized, we have the opportunity to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with Vail Resorts,” said Liesl Jenkins, a lift mechanic at Park City Mountain Resort. “I’m incredibly excited to be able to advocate for ourselves as a department and enact real change through a contract.”
No dates for bargaining sessions have been set at the time of this release, but the unit looks forward to negotiating their first contract with Vail Resorts in good faith.
About the United Professional Ski Patrols of America: UPSPA, CWA Local 7781, is part of CWA District 7. Through UPSPA Local 7781, The Communications Workers of America represents approximately 600 Ski Patrollers at Breckenridge, Purgatory, Crested Butte, Park City, Steamboat, Telluride, and Stevens Pass. The CWA is committed to improving the working conditions of Ski Patrollers—who statistics show have one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States and Canada—and within the ski industry in general.
Image Credits: Park City Mountain Resort