Solitude’s ski patrol takes another step toward unionization with decisive vote

SOLITUDE, Utah — The Solitude Ski Patrollers Association has successfully passed a union vote with a majority, setting the stage for what could be the first unionized ski patrol at an Alterra Mountain Company-owned resort (Steamboat and Mont Tremblant resorts’ ski patrollers unionized prior to their sale to Alterra). The vote tallied at 23 in favor and 10 against, with four contested votes uncounted and 100% turnout.

Robbie Kosinski, a third-year hill captain and key organizer for the association, expressed enthusiasm about the results. “We’re excited and very proud of the results. We’re ready to work with our members and the resort to create a contract that benefits ski patrollers, Solitude, and our guests,” Kosinski stated.

Both the resort and the union have a five-day window to challenge the vote’s outcome. Should no challenges arise, the union will be officially certified. This move could position Solitude’s ski patrollers as the third group in the 2023-24 winter season to initiate a unionization effort, following similar actions at Whitefish Mountain Resort Professional Ski Patrol and the Eldora Professional Ski Patrol Association.

The drive for unionization is deeply rooted in concerns over wages, seasonal employment benefits, and career progression within the profession. According to Kosinski, starting wages for ski patrollers at Solitude currently stand at $21 an hour, with long-serving top earners making $27 an hour despite holding high qualifications and often possessing four-year degrees. Kosinski highlighted the pressing need to address wage compression and the lack of career advancement opportunities, underlining the critical role these issues play in the welfare of ski patrollers and the overall quality of guest experience at Solitude.

Jeff Carroll, vice president of marketing and guest experiences at Solitude, responded, “We respect the decision made by Solitude Mountain Resort ski patrollers to have the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union represent them. Our focus remains on supporting all employees at Solitude, including our patrol team.”

As the process moves forward, should the union be certified, union leaders are set to begin bargaining with Solitude’s leadership to negotiate a contract for the 2024/2025 season.

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