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A union guy in a non-union town Mike Piche knows the ropes when it comes to union organizing — he's been in the ring numerous times as an organizer with the United Steelworkers of America. After six years of working on union drives he's in Whistler — knocking on doors, talking to employees at Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains and taking part in one of the most contentious union drives in the history of the resort. A drive Piche says is going well as they talk to employees. But there's a catch. "This town is not the same as other towns I've worked," says Piche. "I can honestly say that the most resistance we have ever encountered is in Whistler, B.C." A Steelworker tried and true, Piche showed up to Tuesday evening's packed Town Hall meeting at the Fairways decked out in his blue satin Steelworker jacket, the golden crest proudly displayed on the back. He says employees at Whistler and Blackcomb have been listening to what the Steelworkers have to say as they work on organizing employees here. "The employees are acting like most of the other employees we have talked to in other towns," he says. "But the non-employee community is the most resistant we've ever encountered." Real estate agents, local politicians and others have put up a forceful wall the Steelworkers are trying to scale as they pursue a unionized resort. Piche is not sure why Whistler is battling the union, but he has a few guesses. "I think the number one reason is they're scared that the employees will have power they have been denied up to this point," he says. According to Piche, the employees he has talked to are willing to open up, as long as they know their boss isn't anywhere around. "There's a fear factor out there that is hard to explain," he says. "This community lives and breathes with the mountains, yet we are finding they don't put a lot back into the employees." He says the "inside committees" are in place on both Whistler and Blackcomb. The committees are composed of employees who volunteer to help the Steelworkers organize, working inside the operations. According to Piche, the current move by the municipality to stop union organizers from knocking on doors after 6 p.m. and to make them buy a business licence is an example of community resistance to the union drive. He says the Steelworkers are going to continue operating without a business licence because he says they don't fall under the category of a business. "Some people don't like it when you come to the door, others will invite you in to have a steak. They just are happy to have someone to talk to. And that's what we're here to do talk," he says.

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