Recently, the Park City Mountain ski patrollers voted to unionize. The vote was very close: 97 to 94.
Park City Mountain is owned by Vail Resorts, and recently combined with the Canyons resort to form what is now the largest ski resort in the United States. The ski patrollers, with the vote, join patrollers from Steamboat, Crested Butte, and Telluride under the Communications Workers of America Local 7781. Patrollers at the four Aspen Skiing Company areas have had their own union since 1986.
Since 2000, ski patrollers at the Canyons have been unionized. Last spring, Vail Resorts attempted through negotiations to reach an agreement with the Canyons Professional Ski patrol Association; however, none was reached. When the announcement was made that the two ski resorts would be merging, along with the two groups of patrollers, a new vote was necessary to organize the union.
Leading up to the vote, Vail Resorts had emphasized that a “no” vote would be in the best interest of all parties involved. However, chief operating officer of Park City, stated that the company will readily negotiate with the new union.
He states, “I think we’ve made it clear from the beginning that we respected their right to vote for union representation. We knew there were two pretty sizable camps, but now we’re prepared to move forward in this new environment and bargain in good faith.”
The voting was unanimous so it is not know how patrollers from each base area chose to vote. However, some have noted that those on the Park City side where not in favor of organizing.
Alternatively, Johnny Miner, hill captain with the Canyons Village side of the resort has a positive outlook. He says, “For us, it’s huge. It means that we’re going to be able to continue collective bargaining as a unit and have a seat at the table and a collective voice.”
Peter Earle, former president of the Canyons Professional Ski Patrol Association, celebrated the continuation of the union at the combined Park City Mountain ski area.
“We want what is best for our patrollers, the resort’s guests and Park City – and we believe that having the association and our members at the table ultimately will result in a better experience for patrollers and guests alike,” Earle said in a statement.
Overall, the area’s ski resort patrollers will continue offering visitors the very best service and safety, for which our area resorts’ are known for.