LOVELAND SKI AREA, Colo. (KDVR) — Ski patrollers and paramedics at Loveland Ski Area are pushing for better wages and safer working conditions.
This week, they submitted a petition, a move to form a union, to the National Labor Relations Board.
The group was organized as the Loveland Ski Patrol Professional Union under CWA 7781, the United Professional Ski Patrols of America.
Kevin Donaldson is part of the group looking to unionize. He said he’s been a ski patroller at Loveland Ski Area for seven seasons.
“I love skiing. I love being in the outdoors. I love variety and helping people out,” Donaldson said. “The job takes a lot of experience and years to become the best that we can be.”
Unfortunately, Donaldson said they’re losing experienced patrollers.
“A lot of it is the cost of living has increased where we all live, and it’s just become harder to do this job and be compensated fairly,” Donaldson said.
He told FOX31 they make between $21 to $28 an hour and many of them are working a second job.
“We went to four 10s this season, but when you’re having to work one, two, or even three of those days off, you don’t really get to enjoy it,” Donaldson said. “It’s just adding more stress on a job that’s already stressful and it’s just making it harder to make this a sustainable career.”
Donaldson said they just want a seat at the table.
“We’re trying to make this a sustainable career whether it be a first-year patroller or a 10-year patroller, to be able to make the mountain safer and our jobs safer as a result,” Donaldson said. “More experienced patrols equals a safer mountain.”
Loveland Ski Area said they acknowledge the right to form a union, but said, “We believe our team will continue to thrive without union involvement.”
In about four to six weeks, Donaldson said they have the opportunity to vote in an election conducted by the National Labors Relations Board. If they are successful, Loveland would become its own union under the United Professional Ski Patrols of America.
Loveland Ski Area released the following statement in response to the petition:
For 85 years, family-owned Loveland Ski Area has had a strong and productive relationship with all of our employees, including our ski patrol and paramedics. When employees have raised ideas or concerns with our management team, we have responded in a way that shows our commitment to our employees. This is true regardless of the issue, be it pay, safety, providing superior customer service, or other terms and conditions of employment. We are proud of the open lines of communication we’ve had with our employees, and our ability to work together to ensure great and safe employee and guest experiences. We’ve accomplished this for close to a century without any third party coming between Loveland management and its employees. While we want our employees to make an informed decision about unions and to exercise their right to choose – which includes the right to join a union, and the equally important right to not join a union – we believe our team will continue to thrive without union involvement. To date, we have achieved some of the best working conditions in the industry, largely in engaged collaboration with employees through their direct and open communication with management. That model has served the mountain, our employees, and our guests well in ensuring one-of-a-kind, safe, and memorable experiences.”