Telluride patrollers unionize


In a 47 to 1 vote, Telluride ski patrollers have (nearly) unanimously decided to band together in a union.

57 collective patrollers, dispatchers, and snowmobilers will now be represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), District 7. Telluride will join the likes of the employees of Steamboat, Crested Butte and The Canyons, who are also represented by CWA District 7.

The newly unionized patrollers allow them to negotiate things like: pay, raises, health insurance, and sick days, all common complaints of seasonal employees. Any changes of these, or other similar, conditions cannot be made with out negotiation with patrollers first.

One of the moves toward unionization happened on January 2nd, when a petition was filed to the National Labor Relations Board. It contained the signatures of 30 percent of eligible patrollers, dispatchers, and snowmobilers. The document’s mission statement reads:

“We, the undersigned employees of the Telluride Ski Patrol (TSP) have decided the best way to address concerns we feel are necessary for a healthy work environment is to unify with a collective voice”

The 5 included reason for unionization were:

  1. to create a structure through which to effectively communicate with management the needs of TSP;
  2. to negotiate a contract with TSG regarding working conditions, wages and benefits they will have input on, one that will be legally binding and offer consistency and future security;
  3. to establish an economic compensation system that is equitable and predictable;
  4. to ensure that every TSP employee works in an environment that is free from fear and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect and where an equitable system exists to resolve conflicts and complaints through arbitration if necessary and
  5. to ensure that safety practices and equipment continue to meet the priority that our industry demands.

The unionization of mountain safety employees has been talked about for years. Often under appreciated, being a ski patroller is more than making sure your local Jerry of the Day makes it down the hill. Other duties such as avalanche control take experienced patrollers. These people are irreplaceable. Like any job, when you need to retain employees you have to treat them well on and off the hill. Hopefully, unionization will help keep discontent to a minimum.

VIA Telluride Daily Planet, SnoCountry

About Author

Marc is the founder of The Crux Collective. In addition to playing in the mountains, he loves media creation. His vision for Crux Collective is to bring a fresh, modern approach to our outdoor world. Marc is based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Twitter: @brewingdigital

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