Park City Mountain Resort lift mechanics & electricians yesterday voted 35-6 to unionize with the United Professional Ski Patrols of America, CWA 7781. The vote comes after a months-long 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. 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.”
– Christopher Field, an Intermediate Electrician at Park City Mountain Resort
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.
The members of the mechanics’ team face dangerous work conditions, chronic understaffing, and low pay that is not commensurate with the precarity of their work or cost of living. These issues contribute to constant employee turnover, which makes it impossible to cultivate a crew of experienced mechanics, and their work often goes unappreciated despite being essential to the resort’s functioning. The workers have decided that self-advocacy as a unionized crew will combat these issues, and create a safe and equitable working environment for all.
“Given that we are now unionized, we have the opportunity to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with Vail Resorts. I’m incredibly excited to be able to advocate for ourselves as a department and enact real change through a contract.”
– Lies Jenkins, a lift mechanic at Park City Mountain Resort
Following the decision, Deirdra Walsh, vice president & chief operating officer of Park City Mountain, responded by saying that while the resort is “disappointed with the result” they “respect the decision” and will “comply with all applicable labor and employment laws and bargain in good faith with the representative selected.”
“We care deeply about all of our employees, and we are going to do what’s right for our team members regardless of today’s outcome. While we are disappointed with the result, we are grateful to those who took the time to vote. As we have shared both publicly and to our team throughout this process, we sincerely believe that direct communication works best to build strong relationships, ensure a safe working environment, and allow every employee’s voice to be heard through direct and open dialogue. We have demonstrated this by listening and taking action this year – increasing wages and investing in affordable housing, mental health, leadership development, and other perks and benefits. These are actions we took because of our commitment to our team members.
“However, we respect the decision of those who chose to pay to have a union speak for them with regard to their wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment. If the results are certified by the NLRB, we will comply with all applicable labor and employment laws and bargain in good faith with the representative selected by our lift maintenance mechanics and electricians. Either way, we are looking forward to a great season.”
– Deirdra Walsh, vice president & chief operating officer of Park City Mountain
No dates for bargaining sessions have been set at the time of this release, but the unit looks forward to negotiating its first contract with Vail Resorts in good faith.
CWA 7781 currently represents over 650 ski patrollers in the Mountain West and Pacific Northwest, and recently added the Purgatory Resort Bike Patrol to its ranks. The Park City Lift Maintenance Professional Union represents the first resort maintenance workers in the country to organize and shows the growth of the labor movement in the ski industry in general.