PARK CITY, Utah — Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association (PCPSPA) voted in favor of the contract that was brought to a vote after a 15-hour bargaining session with Vail Resorts on Wednesday night. The bargaining session, which ended at 4:30 am early Thursday morning, was the 50th session between the two parties since August of 2020.
Union members did not disclose the exact results of the vote. Only a simple majority was required for approval.
PCPSPA represents 171 ski patrollers at Vail-owned Park City Mountain, representing roughly 90% of the workforce.
PCPSPA Business Manager Patrick Murphy said starting wages for beginner patrollers will be $15 per hour, however, it includes a “gimme incentive” that guarantees a $1 per hour raise for all union employees, effectively giving the union a starting wage of $16 per hour.
“The reality is Vail is afraid of the optics of any raises to their employees so they refused to budge on the starting wage line but they moved on a simple incentive that doesn’t recognize anything aside from working to achieve it so we have a new effective starting wage structure of $16/18/19 per hour,” Murphy told TownLift in a message. “In the eyes of the company, the base wage is still $15 but nobody on our patrol or mountain safety will be making that wage.”
Prior to the accepted contract proposal and vote, 98% of union members voted to approve a strike authorization.
Due to the lack of an active contract prior to the vote, rookie patrollers were starting at $13.25 per hour, despite the resort-wide $15 per hour starting wage.
The contract approval also makes union members eligible for the end-of-season bonus payout that Vail announced last week. For all hours worked from January 1 through the end of the season (April 15 if the season runs longer), Vail Resorts employees will receive $2 per hour. For example, if an employee works 40 hours per week for the 15 weeks between January 1 and April 15 (600 hours), that employee would receive an end-of-season bonus of $1,200 (600 hours x $2/hour).
Through GoFundMe, PCPSPA raised over $100,000 through over 1,700 individual donations.
“In this contract we secured wage incentives and tenure recognition that we strongly feel reflect the technical and hazardous nature of our job, achieving a $19/hr average wage for our program,” PCPSPA said. “This contract additionally gives us wage parity with Colorado resorts, meaning that when the state raises minimum wages we will receive that wage bump.”
“While this may not be the resolution we envisioned originally, this is a huge step towards fair and livable wages. We are now on the same contract timeline as other unionized Vail resorts, allowing us to bargain in tandem in the future,” the union said. “This will strengthen our position as we all continue the push for better patrol and ski industry wages nationwide. This contract is not the end of the fight, and we will move forward with resolute passion for workers’ rights.”
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