First ever climbing gym workers unionize with United Food and Commercial Workers in Minnesota
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
TWIN CITIES, MN –Today, an overwhelming 81.8% of Vertical Endeavors workers in the Twin Cities voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Local 663 and 1189). A mail ballot election took place beginning on November 13, and ballots were counted the afternoon of November 29.
“We unionized because we want better pay and healthcare, and a voice in the decisions that are going to affect employees and customers. I hope that more rock climbing gyms unionize so standards are raised for how employees are treated. We deserve it,” said Hailey Jarmon (she/they), Team coach/counter rush at VE Bloomington.
“I love working at Vertical Endeavors and I want to continue working here. My coworkers and I deserve to be valued and appreciated for the work we do.
Democracy in the workplace isn’t always a given, and our Union can provide that. I’m looking forward to bargaining a contract so we can put forth more of the valuable ideas all of us have. We all want what’s best for the workers and being unionized will support us when it comes to benefits and quality of work,” said Isaac Harris (he/him), Shift manager and Team Coach at Twin Cities Bouldering in St. Paul.
VE workers have organized with both UFCW Local 663 and UFCW Local 1189 in Minnesota.
“It’s simple. When workers organize, their lives get better. We welcome VE workers to the UFCW union family,” said UFCW Local 663 President Rena Wong.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the first climbing gym workers to our Union and look forward to helping them craft their first ever contract,” said UFCW Local 1189 President Jim Gleb.
Vertical Endeavors has five Minnesota gyms: VE Bloomington, VE Minneapolis, VE St. Paul, Twin Cities Bouldering, and VE Duluth. There are about 90 people in the unit.
On November 3, National Labor Relations Board found that “The Petitioner contends that the shift managers are statutory employees and do not exercise any authority indicative of supervisory status.” This means that all five locations’ full and part time employees who are not supervisors or guards are considered eligible to be in the bargaining unit. Page 1 of the decision has the five locations listed that are unionizing, which are all of the VE in MN.
The original union filing on August 25, 2023 included Nicros, whose employees make custom walls and holds for rock climbing systems. They will be filing as a separate bargaining unit.
UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.
Contact: Jessica Hayssen, email@example.com