SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Ski patrollers and paramedics at Loveland Ski Area voted to unionize with CWA 7781, the United Professional Ski Patrols of America, an organization supporting hundreds of ski patrollers.
This marks the first time in the 85 year-history of Loveland Ski Area that patrollers have formed a union.
Kevin Donaldson has been a key contributor in the push for unionization. He’s been a ski patroller at Loveland Ski Area for seven seasons.
“It’s a really exciting time at Loveland,” Donaldson said. “We created a dialogue and now we have that voice with management and amongst our peers.”
More than 70% of patrollers and paramedics at Loveland Ski Area signed the petition to unionize which was submitted on Feb. 14. The results were finalized on Friday, April 14.
“We’re all sort of one now, one collective group of people that are going to have that voice to express what we want in terms of our job, in terms of our benefits, in terms of our pay, in terms of our working conditions and it gives us the ability to fight together hand in hand,” Donaldson said.
Donaldson said they unionized to address common workplace issues that lead to high turnover rates and less experienced patrollers: issues like better benefits, workplace safety and of course, higher wages.
Loveland Ski Area released the following statement in response to the unionization:
“We maintain that engaged collaboration through direct and open communication has led to some of the best working conditions in the industry. While this was not our desired outcome, we respect the decision and remain committed to our employees. We will continue to comply with all applicable labor and employment laws, will bargain in good faith with union representation, and will continue to support all our employees.”
Donaldson said their effort goes to show everyone can have a voice.
“It’s a really exciting time for the ski industry in general,” Donaldson said. “It’s proof in the pudding that you don’t have to be owned by Vail or Aspen or any of these big corporations to have a union.”
The Loveland Professional Ski Patrol will now focus on organizing and preparing for their first contract negotiation as a union.