Ummm... the title did refer to "as the wealth gap grows". Much of the discussion was tied to that.
@wallyk, unless I misunderstand you, I think you may be underestimating the role those wider cultural & economic issues play with respect to resort employee treatment and compensation - including patrol.
In the context of the ski industry, I have noticed a few interesting things I believe are relevant.
Many smaller and mid sized (and maybe some bigger) ski areas seem incompetently managed from a business perspective. This constrains cash resources.
Many ski areas are now owned by entities with no connection to skiing. CNL being an example. To them, a ski area is just an asset to be manipulated for a maximum return when sold. Note that I am offering no value judgement - that's what their investors pay them to do. I'm just noting that when you have an owner like that, they are obligated to maximize partner returns (as it is often an LP structure). So instead of investing in capital assets, human capital, or day to day customer experience, they siphon off every penny they can while making the books look as good as they can.
Then there is the broad discussion of capital vs wages, etc. in society at large. It is an issue far broader than the ski industry. But it touches this discussion. The structure of labor markets push certain job categories toward low (sometimes below livable) levels. You do not have to be a genius to see that this applies to patrols. In these cases, there is no way that any individual employee can influence wages, working conditions, customer safety, etc. They have no real negotiating ability whatsoever. Only organized action has the prospect of moving the needle.
I think it is unrealistic to believe you can discuss possible patrol unionization without looking at the entire context.
It would be interesting to me to see a fully transparent matrix of patrol comp and working conditions at all ski hills. Slicing and dicing that would be interesting to me. Same for all jobs actually. Which leads to the question - within the patrol world, how widely known are the comp structures for all resorts? How much does that skew where people apply? What influence does ownership structure and geography have? To what extent are people willing to follow the best comp and working conditions?
Anyhow - firing up a thread that explicitly includes the wealth gap in its title and then negatively acting to that very topic being discussed seems disingenuous at best.