Park City Mountain ski lift mechanics become first in U.S. to unionize

PARK CITY, Utah — In a historic move, ski lift mechanics at Park City Mountain Resort have become the first in the nation to unionize.

After months of organizing, lift mechanics and electricians at the resort have voted 35-6 in favor of unionizing with the United Professional Ski Patrols of America, CWA 7781. Officially, they have organized as the Park City Lift Maintenance Professional Union.

“It was definitely what we were hoping for and what we thought would happen, but it was really nerve racking you know, because anything can happen,” Liesl Jenkins, a lift mechanic at Park City Mountain Resort said. “It was really incredible. It was truly a momentous occasion, especially since we are the first lift maintenance group to unionize in the country.”

“By unionizing we are no longer passengers, but active participants in the direction Park City Mountain Resort and Vail Resorts Management Company are headed,” Christopher Field, an intermediate electrician at Park City Mountain Resort said in a press release. “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.’”

80% of the Park City Mountain Resort’s lift mechanic unit signed on in support of a petition for representation that was filed with the National Labor Relations Board on October 11, citing low pay and chronic understaffing as issues that could be addressed by unionization.

“While we are disappointed with the result, we are grateful to those who took the time to vote.” Deirdra Walsh, vice president & chief operating officer of Park City Mountain, said in a statement. “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.”

At an unknown future date, the Park City Mountain Lift Maintenance Professional Union will negotiate its first contract with Vail Resorts.

“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.” Walsh said. “Either way, we are looking forward to a great season.”

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