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Ski Patrols Seek to Unionize U.S. Slopes as Wealth Gap Grows - Page 5

post #121 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
 

Workers Comp is mandatory in NY, and volunteer patrollers are covered. Volunteers can even get a disability payment for patrol injuries, and the amount is based on their other paid employment.  I'm not sure how it works in other states.

The other issue is why are there volunteers at all?  Patrollers are providing a necessary function that affects the safety of the public and the operations of the resort.  There must be conflicts that arise form time to time. I'm sure they are supervised by resort management.  Why aren't they subject to minimum wage laws?

 

BK 

Why are there volunteers at all?  well.....I assume because people want to do it for whatever personal reasons they have. You have to admit....right, wrong, or indifferent, why would they pay people for something others are willing to do for free. Its a win/win for the 2 parties concerned.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
 

Around here, most resorts seem to work on a combined volunteer/professional approach, but the resorts put the pros on payroll only for the high traffic days.  With the poor year we're having, a lot of pros weren't hired back until late January. It's like management is daring them to unionize.  

 

BK

 

One of the negative economic health effects of keeping workers earning bare minimums is that the worse off labor is financially, the more (by default) they will put up with being treated disrespectfully. The more important each dollar becomes , the more a worker will cooperate. They just don't have a choice in many cases if they wish to survive. Its a sad truth. Instead of the big corps looking to feed the rank&file so that everyone (including themselves) is more profitable in the long run. They instead would rather keep all financially repressed (for lack of a better term) or perhaps better said "lacking in financial freedom" so that they have better control over the workforce. The more desperate people are to survive the more they will endure. But again as mentioned earlier in the thread. They fail to realize the importance of feeding the masses and how its the masses themselves that is what drives a better economy for all.  But they are blinded by the greed and don't care about that responsibility.

post #122 of 134
Quote:
Why are there volunteers at all?

 

 

Boy that opens a can of worms. :D

 

I remember at PCMR listening to a more experienced Pro ask a couple of volunteers this.

 

"How would you like it if I come down to your office and just kind of hang out and do my best at what you do even though I am not as well trained or skilled? Well, how would you like it? Oh and I would do it for free and cut into what you can make in a week? Would you like that?"

 

They didn't really have much of an answer.

 

Reality.... There are many many small hills that run on a very tight budget and the added expense of providing a pro patrol would make it impossible to stay in business without raising ticket prices. Volunteers and the NSP offer a very crucial role for those types of areas.

 

Areas like Kirkwood or PCMR etc that use volunteers to bolster their staffing on busy weekends or during peak periods also have a need but in the end they are also using volunteers to keep from paying for a service and what Rollin wrote in his last paragraph is spot on..

post #123 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studebaker Hawk View Post
 
Quote:
Why are there volunteers at all?

 

 

Boy that opens a can of worms. :D

 

I remember at PCMR listening to a more experienced Pro ask a couple of volunteers this.

 

"How would you like it if I come down to your office and just kind of hang out and do my best at what you do even though I am not as well trained or skilled? Well, how would you like it? Oh and I would do it for free and cut into what you can make in a week? Would you like that?"

 

They didn't really have much of an answer.

 

 

Areas like Kirkwood or PCMR etc that use volunteers to bolster their staffing on busy weekends or during peak periods also have a need but in the end they are also using volunteers to keep from paying for a service.

It's not that  they use volunteers to cover busy days, it's that they only use pros on days that they can't get volunteers.  At least around here, that means pros work weekdays when the mountain is in full operation,but they send pros home and keep volunteers when there is limited operation. Sometimes the pros can't even ski for free in the early season because they will ask them to work for free.  They make the volunteers show up to work by threatening to take their family passes or to fire them.  IT's a textbook case of market power in the labor market, and a perfect opportunity to unionize, which is happening more and more.

 

BK 

post #124 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studebaker Hawk View Post
 

 

 

Boy that opens a can of worms. :D

 

I remember at PCMR listening to a more experienced Pro ask a couple of volunteers this.

 

"How would you like it if I come down to your office and just kind of hang out and do my best at what you do even though I am not as well trained or skilled? Well, how would you like it? Oh and I would do it for free and cut into what you can make in a week? Would you like that?"

 

They didn't really have much of an answer.

 

Reality.... There are many many small hills that run on a very tight budget and the added expense of providing a pro patrol would make it impossible to stay in business without raising ticket prices. Volunteers and the NSP offer a very crucial role for those types of areas.

 

Areas like Kirkwood or PCMR etc that use volunteers to bolster their staffing on busy weekends or during peak periods also have a need but in the end they are also using volunteers to keep from paying for a service and what Rollin wrote in his last paragraph is spot on..

 

:)

 

By definition - via certification (OEC/EMT-B) - pros and volunteers are the same level, same scope of practice. A NSP OEC coordinator (full time employee of Sacramento fire and a medic) said this to me.  Now reality is pros get way more practice.

 

I empathize with the pros.  But here is the crux of it. If that pro wants to get certified to a beginning level of my profession - like I had to do for ski patrol - then I have no problems with him hanging around here working for free. Except that he would soon learn that a software engineer can say "pay me" and they do.

 

That's why when ever these conversations came up in the shack and they have many times - out of ear shot of the director - I would tell them they got to get their medic cert and into a large city fire service. Running sleds, doing avy work, loading morphine loads into the bus, skiing every day of the week - are all exciting stuff, but it ain't got no retirement at the end of the rainbow and it's work that will always have somebody to fill it.

 

If I owned a ski hill, I would make sure to have a small group of well paid full time patrollers whose goal would be to use volunteers to form a cohesive, integrated patrol. At least I hope I would. 

post #125 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by libexec View Post
 

 

:)

 

By definition - via certification (OEC/EMT-B) - pros and volunteers are the same level, same scope of practice. A NSP OEC coordinator (full time employee of Sacramento fire and a medic) said this to me.  Now reality is pros get way more practice.

 

I empathize with the pros.  But here is the crux of it. If that pro wants to get certified to a beginning level of my profession - like I had to do for ski patrol - then I have no problems with him hanging around here working for free. Except that he would soon learn that a software engineer can say "pay me" and they do.

 

That's why when ever these conversations came up in the shack and they have many times - out of ear shot of the director - I would tell them they got to get their medic cert and into a large city fire service. Running sleds, doing avy work, loading morphine loads into the bus, skiing every day of the week - are all exciting stuff, but it ain't got no retirement at the end of the rainbow and it's work that will always have somebody to fill it.

 

If I owned a ski hill, I would make sure to have a small group of well paid full time patrollers whose goal would be to use volunteers to form a cohesive, integrated patrol. At least I hope I would. 


I do believe this will be my last post as this discussion has remained civil but has also run its course.

 

That's wonderful that an OEC instructor said that to you. Reality is different. Many State EMS do not recognize OEC as anything. Period.

 

The State I am in being being one.

 

I think this horse has died a natural death. Thanks all.


Edited by Studebaker Hawk - 2/11/16 at 12:39pm
post #126 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollin View Post
 

I can understand not all occupations offer health ins especially for part timers. I don't like it but it is what it is. However, when it comes to WC and someone being injured on the job I find it a discrace that any business, small or large corporation would even be allowed not to pay into WC for this purpose. Even people who are volunteering are technically being compensated via free skiing and possibly other forms of freebees and discounts. Its an exchange of services imo for a form of payment even if not actual cash. So does this make them technically employees or not for purposes of things like WC insurance? I suppose that's a tricky and ugly, shady area within the law.

 

When someone is going to volunteer their services then imo they need to understand where they stand before doing so. Whether or not this process concerning WC is right, or wrong, the volunteer him/herself needs to be responsible towards themselves first before making the decision to volunteer. That being said, a resort and for that matter most any corporation is certainly going to take full advantage of a situation where people are willing to offer their services for practically nothing and the resort will also be more than happy not to have to pay into any WC fund or tax for those volunteers.  

 

But I think some of this should have to do with whether or not a resort is required by law to have patrol and also have patrol with areas of expertise. I don't know what the laws in a given state for ski resorts are. Its a matter of public safety and security to the customers. If its a requirement than imo even if the patrol team is all volunteer whereby the resort is getting away with significant cost then because its required I believe the resort should have to pay into WC in case one of those required workers get hurt while volunteering.

 

But this whole process is kind of a shame. People are working the mountain for the resort itself and volunteering or not should have work related injuries covered. But then there are other circumstances where this gets tricky too. Are there more people on patrol than required because they simply want to go skiing and can just come and go as they wish? Meaning as long as they are there skiing for free they must always be on the job whenever they are skiing for free. How do you determine who is actually there to fill a quota of having enough staff and who is actually there just to ski and not necessarily needed at the time? There is a lot of shady area here. There must be a set guideline for determining who is actually on duty or not. This whole subject can get quite confusing.

 

In the end to clear up everything and make it so simple and so morally correct. The resorts shouldn't be relying on volunteers and should  just supply the proper amount of properly skilled people and compensate them properly and we wouldn't even be having this discussion. And then any "extra" people who wish to volunteer can work out whatever deals with the resort they wish. But "extra" has to mean more than the proper and/or required amount whereas if those extra people did not show up today the resort is still well staffed with the proper people and the proper amount of them. But one cant trust the resort (or corporation) not to try its damnedest to rely on its volunteers instead of its more expensive properly paid and compensated employees. They do this out of the goodness of their hearts because they care so much. This is where legislation must step in and make sure certain requirements be met for safety and security reasons to the public. including making sure employees (especially in a risk working environment such as skiing) are covered for on the lob injury.

What I've seen at Squaw Valley is that pro patrolers are scheduled based on the staff needed. Volunteers just show up. On many days there are more of them than are required. Some of them are not capable of skiing anywhere on the mountain, let alone extracting someone. If the resort had to pay WC it would probably kill or significantly reduce the volunteer program. All of this stuff is very resort and location dependent, of course.

post #127 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studebaker Hawk View Post
 
Quote:
Why are there volunteers at all?

 

 

Boy that opens a can of worms. :D

 

I remember at PCMR listening to a more experienced Pro ask a couple of volunteers this.

 

"How would you like it if I come down to your office and just kind of hang out and do my best at what you do even though I am not as well trained or skilled? Well, how would you like it? Oh and I would do it for free and cut into what you can make in a week? Would you like that?"

 

They didn't really have much of an answer.

 

Reality.... There are many many small hills that run on a very tight budget and the added expense of providing a pro patrol would make it impossible to stay in business without raising ticket prices. Volunteers and the NSP offer a very crucial role for those types of areas.

 

Areas like Kirkwood or PCMR etc that use volunteers to bolster their staffing on busy weekends or during peak periods also have a need but in the end they are also using volunteers to keep from paying for a service and what Rollin wrote in his last paragraph is spot on..


It may be different in the States, but Canadian Ski Patrol members are trained.  We all take the same courses every year, except those not in avalanche country don't need to take avalanche training to wear the uniform, and pass the same certification whether we end up on a payroll or not.

 

As to why volunteer, I had a season's pass and was there every weekend at closing time arguing for SAM to keep the hill open until 4:00 and not close down the lifts early (as the patrollers were arguing "You need to be off the hill by then, how about we shut the lifts down at 4:00 and leave you on the chair half way up - got them to be more consistent with a 3:55 shut off time! - it's a small hill).  They invited me to join as I was there all the time anyway.   Yes it's cheaper than a season's pass, but for the money and the responsibility, the season's pass is the better deal.   I just figured if I was skiing and happened upon someone who was injured, I would want to help them anyhow, so I may as well be trained to do it properly.

 

If I get hurt skiing, I have (Ontario Health Insurance Plan)  OHIP.  - Doesn't include  Oxycontin though :mad

post #128 of 134
I think there are historical reasons too. Volunteer patrols existed before paid patrols.
post #129 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

I think there are historical reasons too. Volunteer patrols existed before paid patrols.

Volunteer patrols were organized when the first lifts began to take relatively large numbers of skiers into places that had previously been hiking only areas. That was before there was an expectation that someone would be responsible for everyone's safety, and before the lift owner was concerned about legal responsibility for all the expected injuries. That was when ski was a sport for daredevils.  

 

Since then, skiing has become a real estate business, with lots of money at risk. A big part of that is creating the perception that ski areas are safe environments, which is exactly the opposite of the situation when volunteer patrols were first created.  

 

It's really remarkable that a multi-billion dollar industry uses volunteers for one of it's critical functions. There's no doubt that the current situation exists for historical reasons, but the current trend toward unionization shows that patrols are moving past volunteerism.

 

BK 

post #130 of 134
BK, I agree, at least for big areas.
post #131 of 134

Some 30 yrs ago I started Volunteer Ski Patrolling, NSP, Central Division, Southern Region. At that time a Volunteer could have Advanced First Aid, CPR and a Winter First Aid course required  Annual Refreshers could be completed in 2 days which also included Lift evacuation.

The benefits at that time were comp. pass at most areas in the Division, when not patrolling at your "Home" area. Some areas even included Comp. passes for your family.

Your "Home" area benefits included season passes for family's, and a limited meal ticket for the Volunteer Patroller while signed in on assigned duty. However most of these benefits have been reduced to almost nothing and the time(and dollars) required for annual refreshers has increased significantly.

I was one of many that put in the hours and training to be judged a Senior Classification, also did the time and travel to be awarded a National Number. I am not complaining.

Volunteering is NOT free, I did gain many skills, skiing, emergency care, rescue, among others. I also enjoyed the comradery of the patrol.

I recently "retired" from patrolling because of the additional time required to maintain certifications, the fewer benefits and even the small mid-western areas are now treating the patrol as employees, to provide Guest services, Controlling lift lines and etc. (unpaid of course). The result the Volunteer Patrol is slowly becoming a thing of the past and only the skiing industry will feel the result.

post #132 of 134

The Volunteer Patrol (approx 65 members) I was a member of(before retiring) had one Licensed MD, one Licensed Dentist, two Licensed Paramedic's and Two Licensed RN's. That was their paid jobs. Then they Volunteered to Patrol - under the auspice of OEC. They were NOT to show any credentials other than OEC when patrolling because of insurance.(area and their own policy's). Just saying - Some where in this thread a statement was made the skiing industry has become a mega dollar industry hmmm....

post #133 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve2ski View Post
 

 Volunteer Patrol is slowly becoming a thing of the past and only the skiing industry will feel the result.

well, to be fair many other volunteer situations (aside from skiing) also decline through the years and the economy has a lot imo to do with that. In a struggling economy many people who might otherwise volunteer in just about anything now need to earn money instead. So the time normally spent volunteering is now spent working a second paid job or putting in more hours at their current job. Or just the same for perhaps retirees who volunteer now also need to still earn an income instead. But when it comes to skiing and those who love to ski, it never really was a poor mans sport to begin with and it will be imo a long time before resorts can no longer find enough volunteers willing to do it.

post #134 of 134
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