Live from Yellowstone: How Rent Doubled in National Park Areas with “Work from Home”


While out reporting on union busting in Yellowstone,  I went on the RJ Eskow of the Zero Hour podcast to talk about my travels reporting on labor conditions in America’s most treasured National parks. 

We talked about how rapid pandemic-driven gentrification as wealthy coastal types have moved to the area near national parks; making life harder for low-wage service workers. 

As a result of the pandemic, scores of Americans are working remotely and have chosen to move away from higher-costing big cities to scenic areas, such as those found near many national parks in the West. 

Already some towns in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana — many near ski resorts, national parks, and fishing spots — have seen a near doubling of rent in the last two years. In Montana, rent is rising faster than in any other state in the country during the pandemic. 

With the rent increases, many retail workers have been forced out of housing near these national parks, leading to a widespread service sector shortage in tourist areas throughout Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. 

Meanwhile, the workforce of our national parks are being increasingly privatized by groups like Aramark, Xanterra, and Delaware North. With the increasing privatization of the National Parks, good-paying federal jobs with union rights have been turned over to private contractors, who have driven down wages and busted unions.

Watch as I give a 30-minute preview of a major investigative work that I’ve been working on about the privatization of the national parks during his travels in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana over the last few weeks.  

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Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing over 1,800 stories from 46 states, Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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