Park City Councilor concerned about ‘workforce rebellion’ someday amid mounting worker frustration
A member of the Park City Council on Thursday spoke of what she described as rising concerns among rank-and-file workers in the community that could eventually lead to an uprising of some sort, a brief comment but one that seemed to encapsulate the worries of a broad swath of people who are employed in the service industry or other low-paying sectors.
City Councilor Becca Gerber made the comment during a lengthy discussion by the elected officials about transit and transportation. The transit system and the wider issue of transportation is a City Hall priority and one that is especially important to the workforce since it impacts the commute of bus riders and people driving personal vehicles alike.
“I’m afraid we’re going to face, like, a workforce rebellion in the next couple of years because people are frustrated and they’re getting angry,” Gerber said.
She did not provide details about the methods the workforce could ultimately use if they were to rise. Gerber, though, said the frustration among workers that she described reflects in the service they provide.
“When our employees come, and they’re working lifts or they’re working (at) fancy restaurants, and they’re frustrated and angry already just from their trip in. It provides a lesser service,” Gerber said.
Park City continues to press forward with transit and transportation planning. The meeting on Thursday was designed to address priorities. There is long-running concern about the traffic in the Park City area. The talks about transit and transportation are expected to be ongoing as strategies are decided and then implemented.
There are regular backups on both of the state-highway entryways as commuters, skiers and others attempt to enter or leave Park City at roughly the same time. Solutions have been difficult to negotiate among City Hall, the County Courthouse and the Utah Department of Transportation. There was fierce opposition, as an example, as state transportation officials offered a concept to widen the S.R. 248 entryway. Other ideas, such as an aerial-transit system, have yet to advance.
Gerber recently started her second term as a city councilor after having easily captured a seat in the City Hall election in November. She grew up in Park City and, as an elected official, has positioned herself as a champion of the workforce.
Gerber’s comments at the meeting displayed similarities to a statement she made in late 2017 likening some of the issues in Park City to those in the developing world. In her 2017 comments, also made at a City Council meeting, Gerber said there are issues in Park City that could be seen as Third World problems. They included safe and affordable housing, food affordability and affordable medical care. She said at the meeting in 2017 that some Parkites see themselves as “somewhat disenfranchised” and without voices. Gerber said at the time there were “fighting words, that’s revolutionary talk, which also feels like a Third World problem to me.”
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The Park City Museum recounts a 1914 field trip from Salt Lake City to the mines of Park City.