Breckenridge Ski Patrollers Union Reaches Contractual Agreement with Vail Resorts

Snowboarders descend the Springmeier Trail on opening day, Friday, November 12, at Breckenridge Ski Resort. The resort’s ski patrollers union has completed contract negotiations with Vail Resorts after six meetings.
Spence Linard / Breckenridge Ski Resort

After voting to unionize in May, the Breckenridge Ski Patrol was successful in negotiating a contract with Vail Resorts.

The vote on the new contract ended on Monday 13 December and was ratified on Tuesday 14 December with a “near unanimous vote”.

Ryan Anderson, a Breckenridge ski patroller who helped lead the organizing efforts, said negotiations with Vail went rather well. He said the local management of the complex had kept their word by supporting the patrollers throughout the process.

“Just sticking with that and wanting to work with us was a huge sigh of relief on our part,” said Anderson. “Our goal was to be efficient, to get a contract and to get things up and running as quickly as possible.”

Anderson was one of seven patrollers on the union’s interim bargaining committee, which worked directly with Vail representatives to negotiate the new contract. He said he was happy with how everything turned out in Breckenridge, especially since the Park City ski patrollers have now passed through 44 trading sessions with Vail Resorts.

Before entering into negotiations, Anderson said there was some unease among Breckenridge colleagues for fear of being “stranded” as he said is happening in Park City.

“We’re very happy with how easy it has been,” Anderson said. “We believe this is partly due to our focus and the goals we set out for ourselves, but also to recent changes in local management here in Breckenridge.”

Breckenridge patroller Ryan Dineen also served on the bargaining committee and highly appreciated the fluidity of the process.

“It was a positive process for our bargaining committee, and we especially wanted to thank the local leaders at Breckenridge Ski Resort for making this possible,” said Dineen. “Without the help of these people, I don’t think this process would have been so effective.

One of the people credited by both Anderson and Dineen is Hunter Mortensen, the new senior director of the Breckenridge Ski Patrol.

“We are pleased to have come to an early collaboration agreement and to have been able to work throughout the contracting process in a respectful and positive manner,” Mortensen said in a statement from Vail Resorts. “Each party listened to each other at the negotiating table and acted in good faith.

“I want to thank everyone involved for working hard to finalize this deal. “

Anderson said he and his colleagues are getting more out of their contract than they would have if they hadn’t unionized.

“We believe that the more patrols that take this route, the stronger we become as a profession and the more respected we will become as a profession,” said Anderson.

While Anderson said nothing will drastically change in day-to-day operations, the new contract includes salary increases for all patrollers, patrol officers’ access to employee housing, guaranteed parking closer to work outside of the day. high capacity, and the education and training required for all patrollers. Trackers are also no longer at will employees, which means they cannot be fired without due process.

“A lot has been taken from a verbal promise and an understanding between us and our director and has been written down and codified,” Anderson said.

Anderson said concluding the contracting process was the first big hurdle after formal unionization. From now on, the union will focus on organizational strengthening and the election of long-term leaders.

“It is important that we stress that this process can be managed with mutual respect, keeping in mind that it can be mutually beneficial,” said Dineen. “These processes don’t have to be contentious and damaging to both parties. “

Vail Resorts officials said in a statement that while they continue to believe that “a direct and open relationship is the best way to foster a strong employee experience rather than through a union,” the resort is pleased to have reached a multi-year agreement with the union.

“Now that the contract has been ratified, we look forward to moving forward with our Breck patrollers to together provide our customers with an unforgettable experience this season and beyond,” the statement said.


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