PARK CITY, Utah — Main Street Park City was filled with a familiars sight for those who ski but to some surprise they were on the street and not on the mountain.
Armed with signs that said “NOT ON STRIKE, JUST PRACTICING” the Park City Mountain Ski Patrol enlisted the public’s help in negotiations with their parent company, Vail Resorts.
“We love this community and we love being in park city and working in park city” Lauren Macklin a Line Patroller told FOX13 during an interview, “Obviously the ski industry is part of the heart and soul of Park City and I am proud to be a part of that.”
The Ski Patrol in Park City is unionized and is officially titled the Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association which is a part of a larger group called the United Professional Ski Patrol of America (UPSPA) and backed by the CWA.
The group has been in negotiations with Vail Resort, the parent company of Park City Mountain Resort and has been unsuccessful in 16 sessions in reaching an agreement and Ski Patrollers have been working without a contract since New Year’s Day, with negotiations commencing in August of last year.
They are requesting higher wages, ability for sick pay to be given to employees from the beginning of their employment and better equipment and uniforms for patrollers.
Right now ski patrollers are only eligible for sick time after 1,500 hours, which is about three years into their employment.
The negotiations have recently just changed and ramped up in the wake of COO of Park City Mountain Resort Mike Goar’s addition’s to the negotiations.
He sent FOX13 the following on the discussions:
“I have had the opportunity to talk to many of our patrollers over the last few weeks about their concerns. As a former ski patroller myself, I respect and deeply appreciate everything they do for our operations – especially in year as a challenging as this one. Now that we are well into the season with much of our preparations for COVID-19 behind us, I have been able to join the bargaining sessions with our ski patrol’s union, including a productive session today and another scheduled for next week, and feel confident both sides are working together in good faith to make progress while ensuring we provide our guests with a successful season.”
The union responded by saying in a press release prior to the demonstration Thursday,
“While we're pleased that someone from Vail of Mike Goar's stature has finally joined negotiations, it is still our position that a neutral, professional mediator, trained and provided by the Federal Government at no cost to either party is the best option to move these talks forward,”
When asked what the next steps are, Ski Patroller Lauren Edwards says “We are practicing right now…” Referring to the possibility of a future strike, “we don’t want to go here but we really want vail to come to the table.”
For those on Main street Thursday, they say they have no regrets about their job. “It’s the best job in the world it’s great it’s really challenging and dynamic and you learn a ton of different skill sets” Lauren Macklin told us so ultimately she says “We just want to be treated like professionals in a real career.”