Yesterday, the Purgatory Resort Bike Patrol voted to join the United Professional Ski Patrols of America, CWA 7781. 100% of the ballots cast were in favor, and no ballots were disputed. Their vote cements the patrol unit as the first summertime resort patrol in the country to unionize.
The 14 Bike Patrol members at Purgatory have faced low pay and a dangerously high workload as summertime resort guest numbers skyrocket without sufficient investment in worker ratios or training. They will now be able to bargain collectively with their management and Mountain Capital Partners to improve working conditions. By unionizing, Bike Patrol is joining their colleagues in the Purgatory Ski Patrol to form the first year-round unionized patrols in the United States. This will increase the professionalism of the career, reduce turnover, and ensure that these essential workers are given the support they need to safely and effectively carry out their job duties.
“It’s telling that there wasn’t a single vote against the union. I’ve worked at union and non-union patrols, the difference is night and day. Union patrols have more experience, are more highly trained, and have better retention. The patrol’s experience, and thereby the public’s safety, dwindles with every year working conditions stay below industry standard.”
– Jordan Diefenderfer, a patroller at Purgatory with 10 years of experience
Bike Patrollers are tasked with one of North America’s most rewarding but dangerous jobs. As backcountry search and rescuers, medical professionals, and environmental stewards, they are tasked with various responsibilities that ensure the safety and enjoyment of guests at Purgatory Resort. They chose to unionize to advocate for the respect and dignity they deserve, and they hope this is the first of many unionized Bike Patrol units in the country.