Vail Resorts to Reward Employees With Bonuses for Unprecedented Year – Except Unionized Patrollers

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transporting a patient can save lives
Ski patrol prepares to transport a patient to receive emergency treatment. PC Hugh Johnson

To thank and reward their employees for working in an unprecedented working environment amid the global pandemic, Vail Resorts announced Thursday that they would be paying them year-end bonuses. But with one exception: unionized ski patrollers.

Patrollers at Park City Mountain Resort, UT, Crested Butte, CO, and Stevens Pass, WA, were informed that they would not be in the round of bonuses as that would be illegalSki patrollers at these resorts are currently in contract negotiations with Vail Resorts and have been working since the start of the year without a contract. Patrollers are asking for wage increases, disability insurance for seasonal workers, waterproof uniforms, and regular sick leave, and were practicing picket line action at the end of January.

“Union patrollers are not eligible for the bonus because we have an obligation to bargain with your union over your wages, hours, and working conditions. It would violate federal law if we unilaterally changed your compensation model.”

– an email obtained by the Park Record reads

Last spring, the ski patrol voted 27 to 18 in favor of unionization and voted for Brianna Hartzell as president, and in the last 21 months, have yet to finalize a contract with Vail. Consequently, the pandemic put the negotiations on hiatus for 5-months during the pandemic. According to Outside Magazine, Vail has failed to show up for Zoom meetings despite the plentiful time to talk.

Brianna Hartzell is very clear about the struggles facing veteran ski patrollers.

“It takes several seasons to build expertise in these areas in a patrol team. If you want someone who can splint a femur in the dark during a blood-moon eclipse while training a rookie on a 50-degree slope and backboarding the guest into a toboggan to be belayed and skied out, you’re going to need someone with more than two years of experience,”

23 out of 48 patrollers are in their first or second year.

In response to a Park Record inquiry a Park City spokesperson said that the resort is exploring other options to pay patrollers an end-of-season bonus. An email from Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz, 28,000 Vail Resorts employees will receive the bonus. The largest being $1,500, and extending down to employees who worked at least 40 hours this season, who could stand to earn at least $100.


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9 thoughts on “Vail Resorts to Reward Employees With Bonuses for Unprecedented Year – Except Unionized Patrollers

  1. In addition to this, in a top meeting they told managers that they would have the security at employee housing looking for small and large gatherings at the end of the seasons they could fire and evict employees before giving them their bonuses and I have already seen people get fired for bogus reasons right before our closing date…. nice empty gesture vail resorts!

  2. Imagine if professional ski patrollers boycotted vail resorts next season. It would put them out of business.

  3. How did Vail resorts get voted best resort to work at ?
    Vail is going to kill skiing as you know it , they have deliberately made it less enjoyable and more expensive . I could spend the whole day at Alta and never see a ski patroller . Go to vail and get my pass pulled for “going too fast “ Vail resorts is only concerned with one thing and that’s the money, they suck at customer service and they will go out of their way to ignore their employees welfare and actively try to under pay their ski patrollers . Billionaires don’t achieve their wealth by paying their employees a competitive wage .

  4. Yep. Vail ruined my mountain of 30 years: Stevens Pass. Chairlifts can’t open creating astronomical lines where we all sit for hours breathing in each others air (um, Covid?). And now they’re making ski patrol (against their better judgement) pull passes for people simply climbing up the mountain cause Vail can’t open the chairs! AND NO, NOT A “SNOW-SAFETY-ISSUE”!!! A complete and total Vailure.

  5. NEWS FLASH: RICH CORPORATION WANTS TO KEEP ITS MONEY
    How convenient that Vail would need to “bargain with your union” to pay bonuses, but has not showed up to the Zoom meetings to discuss the Labor Agreement. Vail buys the resort, prices increase for customers, employees get less, character evaporates from the mountains, and now bonuses are given out to punish those workers who are standing up for their own rights and to scare other employee groups from unionizing……typical corporate greed strategy. Ski independent…..just not where I ski!

    1. “Union patrollers are not eligible for the bonus because we have an obligation to bargain with your union over your wages, hours, and working conditions. It would violate federal law if we unilaterally changed your compensation model.”

      1. Yeah, I read that the first time when it was in the article. What’s not getting through apparently is that Vail has “an obligation to bargain with your union over your wages….” BUT Vail has already failed to reach a contract agreement with the union because “Vail has failed to show up for Zoom meetings despite the plentiful time to talk.”
        So if you can’t show up for one thing, I’m sure they’re not gonna be quick to the table just for the option to pay them more money. Get it?

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