Members of the Telluride Ski Patrol will soon vote on whether to form a union.
A mail-in ballot, which will be sent out on Thursday, asks patrollers if they wish to be represented for purposes of collective bargaining by Communications Workers of America, District 7. All full-time and regular part-time ski patrollers, dispatchers and snowmobilers employed by Telluride Ski Resort are eligible to vote. All other employees, managers and supervisors who work for Telski are not. Ballots will be collected by the National Labor Relations Board in Denver and counted on Feb. 26.
According to Al Kogler, administrative director for organizing CWA District 7, there are about 55 people who are eligible to vote. Kogler didn’t have details about why Telski’s patrollers are trying to unionize, but said workers generally unionize for three reasons: 1) they want dignity and respect in the workplace, 2) they want to be treated fairly and equitably and 3) they want to be paid fairly and equitably.
This isn’t the CWA’s first foray into representing ski patrols.
In 2003, the CWA convinced hundreds of ski patrollers in Colorado and Utah to join the union. Although the CWA’s representation hasn’t always been harmonious–and included a short-alleged lockout in 2007.
More than 50 workers with The Canyons Professional Ski Patrol Association don’t know if their season will start in two weeks. This fall, The Canyons offered a contract to the patrollers. Union members voted it down.
Megan McKenna, a ski patroller and union business manager, said, “The Canyons, rather than returning to negotiations and trying to come to a mutual agreement, they have decided to lock us out, not allowing us to return to work.”
Whether the Telluride Ski Patrol unionizes will be determined once the National Labor Relations Board counts the mailed-in ballots.