Workers Unionizing at Vertical Endeavors

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The workers outside Vertical Endeavors
Workers at Vertical Endeavors climbing gyms in Minnesota as well as Nicros are the latest climbing industry workers to pursue unionization, which has become an evolving trend in the industry. (Photo courtesy of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 663)

A press release dated August 25 announced that workers at Vertical Endeavors are forming a union. The press release specified that the workers “signed and submitted cards to the National Labor Relations Board to unionize with the United Food and Commercial Workers.” The stated areas of focus in the unionization effort are “livable wages, better working conditions, and…a seat at the table to be able to turn these ideas into reality.”

Vertical Endeavors, as a brand, spans seven entities—six climbing gyms (five in Minnesota, one in Illinois) and wall and hold manufacturer Nicros. At the time of the press release, Vertical Endeavors had yet to officially recognize the union.

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Increased unionization has been a noticeable trend in the climbing and outdoor industries in recent years, and union activity in general has been on the rise nationwide, with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reporting a substantial uptick in union representation petitions in 2022 and the first half of 2023. In the climbing gym industry, specifically, workers at Movement Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, made headlines last year by forming the first-ever climbing gym union in the United States; since then, workers at several other gyms have followed suit with similar efforts, including workers at VITAL gyms in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, who saw their unions certified by the NLRB in November and July.

Stay tuned to CBJ for more updates regarding unionization in the climbing industry.

Harness Consulting