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?
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.
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.
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.