Guest editorial: PCEA supports ski patrol union | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial: PCEA supports ski patrol union

Sam Thompson, on behalf of The Park City Education Association,

Combining the ski patrols at Park City Mountain and Canyons has allowed Vail to force a vote on December 14th that will decide the fate of the Canyons Ski Patrol Union and the future of all patrollers at the newly integrated resort.

Though propaganda often states otherwise, labor unions are good for the surrounding community and the companies because they promote job security, create career employees who purchase homes and bolster the local economy, and promote competitive wages and benefits for both union and non-union workers. Ski patrol unions are especially beneficial because career patrollers provide long term knowledge of terrain and myriad avalanche conditions creating increased safety for all who ski and work on the mountain.

Job security allows workers to have a say in the safety of their workplace, working conditions, workplace efficiency, and policies without fearing for their jobs. This fosters a partnership between those involved in the day-to-day operations and those who are in charge of the overall picture. With job security, workers are inclined to purchase homes, contribute to the local economy and become permanent stewards of the community.

Competitive wages and benefits not only create long-term careers for union workers, it also causes other companies without unions to increase wages to attract workers. When The Canyons Ski Patrol negotiated their first contract with American Ski Corporation (ASC), they gained health benefits, sick days and vacation days for seasonal full time patrollers. To promote fairness resort wide, ASC offered those same benefits to all full time seasonal employees.

Park City needs long-term career patrollers on the mountain who have seen both drought and boom snow years and every combination of wind direction, loading and weather patterns. Since the Canyons Ski Patrol Union was formed in 2000, Canyons Resort and local skiers have benefitted from the experience of 25-30 year patrollers as well as a core of 10-15 year patrollers learning the ropes. If you consider the last four years of drought, current fifth year patrollers have not even seen avalanche conditions during big snow years.

Without a union to promote job security, benefits and a livable wage, Park City/Canyons Resort could lose the ability to train and retain long-term patrollers with knowledge of the terrain, avalanche conditions and a strong understanding of resort operations. The community could lose locals who are building a future in Park City and a highly experienced ski patrol that can open the resort safely and efficiently.

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As the Park City Education Association, our organization serves a similar role in our community. Our united voice assures the best quality teachers are attracted to and retained in our district’s classrooms. Like the Canyons Patrollers, we share the belief that an organized collective union of professionals elevates our work and fosters strength in our community. Therefore, as representatives of the PCEA, we support the continuation of the ski patrol union at the newly combined resorts of Park City and Canyons.