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Beaver Creek Ski Instructors Unionizing! - Page 3

post #61 of 82

Mike, I think the comparisons are valid on a couple levels. Employee retention was the expressed reason for the raises at WalMart. Were they compelled by the threat of a national minimum wage increasing to $10 an hour? It's hard to say but the reaction on Wall Street hasn't been a positive one. I am sure other factors like not meeting sales quotas are involved but when those raises are given as a reason given for the stock price falling, I think it's hard to dismiss the sentiment behind that sort of statement. What isn't debatable is how they became the number one retailer using the business model that included minimum wage workers. It was a game changer because other retailers followed suit trying to stay alive.

 

How that compares to the ski resort workers is pretty obvious, like most folks in the recent past they followed part of WalMart's success story and kept wages down to keep profits up. Now when that model is being seen as outdated worker retention has become a new corporate buzzword. So who really knows where it will lead but the pendulum seems to be swinging back toward a higher wage that will allow the workers to actually afford the products and services they provide others. It's not there yet but with time and enough public sympathy (support for businesses that paid living wages all along) we might see the wage gap get smaller.

post #62 of 82
Thread Starter 

Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart who was responsible for the rapid growth of the company had 10 commandments for building a successful business including "2. Share your profits with all your associates, and treat them as partners.
In turn, they will treat you as a partner, and together you will all perform beyond your wildest expectations."

 

Its seems that the company moved away from that ending their profit sharing plan in 2010, but most would give Walton the credit for the companies huge success.   

post #63 of 82

Exactly mefree.  Success which has gone away since he passed the reins on to his greedy children.

 

He didn't pay himself a huge salary or live an exorbitant lifestyle either.

post #64 of 82

One of the things you need to remember is that you can have up to five people in an all day private at Vail and Aspen.

post #65 of 82
Good luck to them, Vail's current policies are exploitative of both guests and instructors. I respect Aspen a lot for paying a fair (ish) wage and it seems it's working for them with a lot of good instructors moving there recently. 
post #66 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by WVSkier View Post

One of the things you need to remember is that you can have up to five people in an all day private at Vail and Aspen.

Same as many other places. Should you find four friends with similar needs, you can have six hours here for $465. As compared to $885 at Vail (near as I can tell, while lotta clicking to find that). One would hope the difference is due to having to pay instructors more.
post #67 of 82
I've sort of wondered about the typical current state business model around on-site ski instruction in the United States. For example, are ski instructors usually employees of the resort that get full employee benefits? How is the usual comp structure? How do instructors "move up" the ladder, and who pick up education bills?
post #68 of 82
Full employee benefits? Who picks up the education bills? If any of that were happening, would they be unionizing???
post #69 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nochaser View Post

I've sort of wondered about the typical current state business model around on-site ski instruction in the United States. For example, are ski instructors usually employees of the resort that get full employee benefits? How is the usual comp structure? How do instructors "move up" the ladder, and who pick up education bills?


You've got to be kidding, right?  Perhaps you haven't been reading the threads that have been going on here for the last few years about tipping instructors and instructor compensation.

There is no retirement and no health insurance.  The compensation structure is odd; it involves unpaid time spent at work and inexplicably low pay for very high price services, thus the issue of tips.

Certification by PSIA, membership in PSIA, and the cost of PSIA resources and clinics to get you that certification are on your own tab.  

post #70 of 82
Certification expenses depend on the resort. To Vail Resorts credit, they reimburse certification expenses in the season after they are earned -- an incentive to return. Health insurance may be available, but only to full time instructors and generally only after a year or two of employment. They often have cobra or some sort of off-season option.

Mike
post #71 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by nochaser View Post

I've sort of wondered about the typical current state business model around on-site ski instruction in the United States. For example, are ski instructors usually employees of the resort that get full employee benefits? How is the usual comp structure? How do instructors "move up" the ladder, and who pick up education bills?

Ski instructors are usually employees of the resort. A few resorts offer some benefits like health care to full time instructors, but most resorts only offer those kinds of benefits to year round employees. Most instructors get free or discounted skiing for themselves and family as a benefit and discounted food for themselves. Skiing benefits are usually tied to experience and/or number of hours worked/part time vs full time status. Hourly pay may range from minimum wage to 1/2 of what a guest pays for a private lesson, but my guess is the vast majority of instructors make less than $15/hour worked (including tips). Instructors typically only get paid for the lessons that they teach. It is not uncommon for an instructor to be on the mountain all day and only receive 2-3 hours of pay. It is not uncommon for a "full time" instructor to only get paid for 30 hours/week (or less) on average through an entire season. Hourly pay is generally higher at larger resorts and higher at Western resorts with longer seasons than Eastern resorts with shorter seasons. Hourly pay is typically higher for private lessons than group lessons and even higher for private lessons where the guest has specifically requested the instructor. Hourly pay is typically higher for instructors with more experience/higher levels of certification. There are a million different schemes for pay bumps based on schedule commitments, ability to teach multiple disciplines, end of season bonuses, awards, etc. Some resorts do pay a small amount for showing up to be available to teach. Many do not. Some resorts pay for instructors to take training "clinics". Some resorts reimburse professional dues or costs for successfully passed certification exams. Some full time instructors get guaranteed pay whether they teach or not. Instructors can "move up" by achieving higher certification levels, gaining experience, demonstrating outstanding skiing and teaching skills to management, getting positive guest feedback, generating high amounts of private requests, volunteering for assignments, etc. A typical potential career ladder for a new US instructor would be to get hired, get certified level 1, get certified level 2 (or and 3), get promoted to either the training staff or become a line up supervisor, become a manager of a suboperation (e.g. children's center), an assistant director or director within the ski school, get a management position that covers more than ski school, then become resort general manager. An alternate career path would be to achieve level 3 certification and then proceed to joining the PSIA staff as a clinic leader or examiner and then possibly on to the PSIA demo team/ demo team coach. Many PSIA examiners are also ski school directors. It's important to note that PSIA staff are usually either employees or contractors of/for PSIA as well as employees of their home resorts.

post #72 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Certification expenses depend on the resort. To Vail Resorts credit, they reimburse certification expenses in the season after they are earned -- an incentive to return. Health insurance may be available, but only to full time instructors and generally only after a year or two of employment. They often have cobra or some sort of off-season option.

Mike

To clarify, Vail & Beaver Creek previously had a different cert reimbursement policy than Keystone & Breck.

 

At Vail/BC, the old policy was to reimburse immediately after success starting at Cert 2 but not reimburse for Cert 1 or specialty certs.  The new policy is like at Breck & KS.  This switch actually resulted in Vail not reimbursing ANY cert expenses last season (because returning instructors with un-reimbursed certs from 2013-14 were not grand fathered in).  I know several instructors who  have earned 3 or 4 different certs over the last 2-5 years (all while continuing to instruct at Vail) without having Vail reimburse any of them to date.  That will change going forward with the new policy for those that return the following season, but there are max reimbursement levels which tend not to cover out of pocket expenses, failed attempts, pre-req days above the minimum and certain specialty certs.  

 

Copper had the following available online last season:

 

Copper Ski & Ride School will support the exam fees, excluding travel, accommodation, etc. We will reimburse, in part and/or in full depending on your level and exam results. We will reimburse instructors is listed below in percentage terms:
 PSIA/AASI Level 1 Success – 50% of your specific exam fees will be reimbursed
 PSIA/AASI Level 2 Success – 75% of your specific exam fees will be reimbursed
 PSIA/AASI Level 3 Success – 100% of your specific exam fees will be reimbursed
 PSIA/AASI Level 4 Success – 100% of your specific exam fees will be reimbursed
 PSIA/AASI Children’s Specialist 1 or 2 Success -100% of your specific exam fees will be reimbursed
 PSIA/AASI Freestyle Specialist Success – 50% of your specific exam fees will be reimbursed
If multiple attempts are made to pass an exam, SRS will reimburse the cost at the appropriate percentage for the passed exam only. In other words if you take the exam twice, we will only pay the one successful attempt.
Reimbursement payment will be made the season after passing your exam on January 1st, provided you return to work in good standing. Reimbursement will be paid during the season following your exam. If you pass during the 2013-14 winter you will be reimbursed in January of the 2014-15 winter.

post #73 of 82
PSIA level 4?
post #74 of 82
Could I support a family and make a decent living as an instructor if I played by the rules, worked hard/smart, and performed at a high level...or is the system is too rigged for that to happen?
post #75 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

PSIA level 4?


I would have thought Vail goes to 11.

post #76 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

PSIA level 4?

beyond full cert 3- i.e. Rocky Mountain Trainer's (RMT) accreditation

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nochaser View Post

Could I support a family and make a decent living as an instructor if I played by the rules, worked hard/smart, and performed at a high level...or is the system is too rigged for that to happen?

I think it is possible at a place like Aspen, especially if you had a decent paying summer job.  Of course, it really depends on a number of factors including whether your spouse works, what you consider to be a decent living, how many kids you have, how personable you are, etc.

 

At a place like Vail, there are those who are full time instructors and some have families.  Many have 2nd/3rd jobs and/or have been at the resort a long time which has allowed them to build up a nice clientele and get paid more than those who started working there in the last decade.

post #77 of 82
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 


I would have thought Vail goes to 11.

No, only 10 from 2011-12 http://skijob1.snow.com/BcSrsAssets/files/main/R&P09_11_12bodypages_draft2.pdf

 

Entry Base Wage Rates
Entry Rates
Certification/Credential Entry Base
Non-certified New Hire $9.95
Level 1 certified $10.95
Level 2 certified $12.95
Level 3 certified $14.95
Trainers Accreditation* $20.20
E1 Examiner* $21.19
E2 Examiner* $22.46
E3 Examiner* $24.28
Current ISIA Demo Team Member $25.27
Current PSIA Demo Team Member $26.27
Other considerations:
· Level 2 & 3 certified instructors Hourly Base Rate will take into account years of experience up to, and including, ten years.
· A “year” is defined as a 12-month period, November to November, based on our Northern Hemisphere Season. For instructors
with part time experience, two years of part time service will be considered equivalent to one year of full time service.
· Former World Cup competitors will be brought in at entry Level 3 certified pay ($14.95).
* To receive and maintain advanced educator wages, instructors must remain current and active within
the division. Currency is defined as attending the annual fall Advanced Educator’s training and paying dues. The general managers
and directors will consider such cases on an individual basis.

post #78 of 82

There is a lot of wage theft by the ski corp.  For example, here is a quote from my state's law:

Is being required by the business to wait on the premises considered "hours worked"?

Yes. Generally businesses cannot require workers to wait on the premises without pay. Workers must be paid for all "hours worked," which includes time they are required to be on the premises at the employer's request.

http://www.lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/Wages/PayReq/ShowUp/default.asp

 

Any thing required to be done for the benefit of the employer requires that at least minimum wage be paid.  Getting certification on your own doesn't apply.  Required training does apply.  Required morning meetings, for example, must be paid, as well as required show-up time when classes are assigned even if you don't get a job.

post #79 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

No, only 10 from 2011-12 http://skijob1.snow.com/BcSrsAssets/files/main/R&P09_11_12bodypages_draft2.pdf


· Former World Cup competitors will be brought in at entry Level 3 certified pay ($14.95).

This explains the mystery of why so many ex-World Cuppers are lining up to become ski instructors. Wealth beyond their wildest dreams of avarice!
post #80 of 82
I wonder how many World Cup competitors were applying that they had to have a special line about it in this manual?
post #81 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I wonder how many World Cup competitors were applying that they had to have a special line about it in this manual?


It probably wouldn't be there if it had never happened. Besides being a World Cupper is probably the only way to lose money faster than being a ski instructor.

post #82 of 82
That is a strange pay scale, aside from being low:  $9.95, $14.95, etc?  They really are nickle-and-dime-ing them!
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