Park City Mountain mechanics could become first of their kind to unionize in U.S.
On Tuesday, lift mechanics and electricians at Park City Mountain announced plans to unionize.
The employees submitted a petition for a representation election to the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday afternoon.
They are seeking to organize as the Park City Lift Maintenance Professional Union under the United Professional Ski Patrols of America. That’s a branch of the Communication Workers of America (CWA).
80% of the local workers signed the petition. A vote to unionize could occur in four to six weeks, according to Ryan Dineen of CWA.
If successful, it will be the first union of ski resort mechanics in the country.
A press release Tuesday said the mechanics team faces dangerous work conditions, chronic understaffing, and low pay that is not commensurate with the nature of their work or cost of living. The release said these problems lead to high turnover, and a lack of experienced mechanics.
“The prosperity, happiness, and safety of the mechanics and electricians in Lift Maintenance has been a discussion for years,” said Liesl Jenkins, a lift mechanic at Park City Mountain. “Having a voice and the opportunity to negotiate with our employer is paramount to the retention of mechanics and electricians, as well as experience, in our department.”
The CWA said in a statement that the move shows the growth of the labor movement in the ski industry, and they are confident the unionization effort will succeed.
"We’re committed to constant improvement of our employee experience, which includes our significant investment in employee wages and affordable housing for this season, among other steps,” Park City Mountain Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Deirdra Walsh said in a statement.
“We're proud of our efforts so far but know this work is ongoing. I’ve always believed in an open-door policy and encourage employees to communicate directly with me and our leadership team. My number one priority is working together with employees to hear and address their concerns.
"We believe a direct relationship with our team works best rather than through a third party, but we respect the decision of our teammates to choose.”
The United Professional Ski Patrols of America currently represents over 650 ski patrollers at Park City, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, and other resorts.