union history 

The United Steelworkers of America have attempted to form a union in Whistler several times without success. In April of 1990, two votes were held by Whistler Mountain employees. The first one was never counted because the Industrial Relations Council ruled the proposed bargaining unit was inappropriate. The second ballot was finally counted in January of 1991 following a ruling by the IRC to decide what was an appropriate bargaining unit. The ruling stated an appropriate bargaining unit would be about 200 people in Mountain Operations, such as professional ski patrol, lift operators, maintenance workers and groomer operators. Union representatives were optimistic following this ruling because 90 percent of these employees signed union cards. The result was 69-53 against joining the union. In February of 1991, an attempt to unionize after two WMSC employees were disciplined also met without success. One employee who had been fired was reinstated and remains an employee of the lift company. Other issues such as working conditions and accommodation were also addressed. Now, as in the past, the union has expressed confidence in successfully creating a union and is attempting to do so with support from employees on both mountains. Taking a look at one unionized ski area in B.C. may indicate how close the union is to forming in Whistler. At Red Mountain in Rossland, employees formed an association in 1983 to act as a bargaining unit, then signed on with the union four years later.

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