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Push to The Latest: No

SAM Magazine—Crested Butte, Colo., July 5, 2023—Lift mechanics and electricians at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) voted 7 to 3 to form the Crested Butte Lift Maintenance Professional Union, joining the Communications Workers of America (CWA) 7781.crested butte This is the second ski area lift maintenance crew in the country to unionize, following the unionization of Park City Lift Maintenance last October. 

In May, SAM reported that all 10 members of the Crested Butte crew had signed union authorization cards petitioning the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a secret ballot vote to unionize. The crew asked resort leadership for voluntary recognition at that time, which would have circumvented the need for a formal union election. 

The request was denied, according to a press release from CWA, and the maintenance crew voted to unionize in an election held Friday, June 30. 

“Vail Resorts delayed the inevitable, and now we are excited to finally have the opportunity to work through these challenges as equals,” said Thomas Pearman, a second-year lift mechanic at Crested Butte. Those challenges include dangerous working conditions, high turnover, and a lack of support for professional development, according to the release. 

“It is a long road ahead,” Pearman added, “but we are looking forward to making this a safe and sustainable career.” 

“As we have shared with our team, we sincerely believe that a direct relationship between our company and our team members creates the strongest connection and allows every employee’s voice to be heard, because the reality is 30 percent of the lift maintenance team voted against joining a union today,” said Tara Schoedinger, VP and GM of CBMR, in a statement on Friday.  

“Our team members are the heart of this resort, and we will always do the right thing for them regardless of a union,” Schoedinger continued. “The outcome of today’s vote doesn’t change that. If today's results are certified by the NLRB, we will comply with all applicable labor and employment laws and move forward in good faith, communicating through the representative selected by our lift maintenance mechanics and electrical technicians.” 

The next step for the Crested Butte Lift Maintenance Professional Union is to draft its union contract. The Park City Lift Maintenance Professional Union began drafting its contract in February and negotiations are still underway. 

“We are committed to this job,” said Pearman. “It is time for this job to show some commitment to us.”

Last spring, Vail Resorts made a $175 million investment in its employees including increased wages, expanded benefits, and support for more affordable housing, said Schoedinger, adding, “Those investments were the direct result of listening to our employees and taking action. We will continue to listen to our team members’ feedback and make changes to improve their experience.”