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Foreign Workers at US Resorts

post #1 of 157
Thread Starter 
The comment in another thread on imported instructors (delivering inferior product) reminded me of something I've noticed more and more in the last few years.

When I go up North (NE) now, it seems like most of the workers at the mountain and at inns are foreigners on seasonal work visas. Now I don't have anything against giving people opportuntities. The extent of foreign workers in recent years does kinda bother me for two reasons.

First, there's the old business claim that they have to higher foreign workers because Americans don't want the jobs. I kinda think that argument is a crock; they could pay a bit more and find workers. The business just want more money.

Second, I think it's loses a lot of local color. Sure people go up north to ski but they also go to be up north. When you stay at a country inn and everyone who works there except the owner is from Brazil, it sure give the whole experience a different flavor. I remember when the workers were local ski bums. You could shoot the breeze about skiing; about how the food is at the Mexican place down the road, chat with the lifties about their favoriate runs, etc.

Now I'm not complelely bashing letting some people come to the US to help on in seasonal situation. There is a spike in demand so some usage of foreign workers is warranted. I know many of the people coming in a cool people and just want an opportunity to work and get paid. I just wish a lot more jobs stayed with people from US.

Last time I stayed at an inn, it was $79 for two nights with breakfast. Would I have paid $84 if the three or four people working at the inn were US ski bums, absolutely, without even thinking about it. I bet an extra $2.50 a night per gueast would be more than enough to cover the cost of entising US workers to take the jobs.

I read the article in the Boston Globe the other day about Cape Cod resorts not getting enough foreign help as the ski areas snap up the visas first and the quota is filled. They used to hire college kids on summer break but the resorts want to extend the seaons a couple weeks before Memorial Day and after Labor Day but the college kids would miss those weeks so they claim the need foreign help. Of course then the foriegn workers stay all summer and the college kids are out of work. I say, suck it up and run short staffed for those few weeks and give the college kids the jobs.
post #2 of 157
Hmm, the trend in the West is to hire Mexicans as dishwashers and cooks, hire South Africans, South Americans, New Zealanders and Australians as Waiters, and hire Americans as managers.

This is what is going down in the Park City area.

Doesn't bother me any, the kids coming over tend to be well educated and polite and the ladies can be quite stunning.

I only wish they did some of that when I was younger, wouldn't have minded partying with some of those foreign gals.
post #3 of 157
Keep in mind the following.

The jobs are highly seasonal. Typically, locals are going to want year-round employment.

Often, the foreign hires are "antipodal" and doing the jobs as summer work (when school is out).

I like the locals at MRG.
post #4 of 157
Lots of what sounds like russians (or maybe Ukraines) in Hunter mountain, both workers and skiers. They don't seem like novice skiers so they must have been doing this back in their homeland. Must be a Hunter thing since when I went to Windham, I didn't hear anyone speak slavic.

So is it seasonal workers or just hiring workers that caters to their clientel?
post #5 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by njkayaker
Keep in mind the following.

The jobs are highly seasonal. Typically, locals are going to want year-round employment.

Often, the foreign hires are "antipodal" and doing the jobs as summer work (when school is out).

I like the locals at MRG.
Personally, recruiting kids from down under to work ski resorts in N. America is brilliant. Most N. American university kids are in school, while New Zealand and Australian kids are on their vacation. Personally, I think a university kid working on his vacation is generally more trustworthy than a local ski bum.
post #6 of 157
I admit that it is sort of strange to go to a resort and see that all the service people are foreigners. Saw some of this during recent Tahoe trip - lots of Aussies, Kiwis and Brazilians. But like others have implied, it's probably for a good reason, and I don't mean just cost/salary savings to resort managers. In the mid-Atlantic from NJ to the Carolinas, many beach towns are flooded with foreign help during the summer months. At Ocean City, MD I have witnessed a beneficial change over the last 10-20 years because of this seasonal labor influx. The local mayor and business people are very appreciative of the huge, highly educated, reliable, motivated, and mostly very polite foreign work force that serves the town each summer. Believe they throw them an end of the season party in gratitude. My wife feels the foreign workers have actually raised the classiness of a formerly pretty red-necky beach town. There is a highly organized recruitment pipeline sending a large number of college kids from all across the former Soviet Bloc to these east coast beach towns. These recruiters maintain assistance offices in some US resort towns. Sometimes there is a language barrier with these employees that can be annoying, but they can also be quite charming. I tend to agree with my wife that for Ocean City at least, these foreign workers are better for both business owners and tourists than unmotivated part-time domestic employees. I suppose you could rationalize that motivated US young people are working at better/higher tech summer jobs or employed in full time positions closer to home.
post #7 of 157
This is a trend at all resort areas. I have a beach house and a friend of mine there owns 5 boardwak businesses. he can't find American kids to work for him and the few that do are lazy.He hires girls from various slavic countrys. last year, he hired 12 Polish girls. In addition to being great reliable workers, everyone of them was gorgeous. Blonde hair, blue eyes and unbelievable bodies.
post #8 of 157

Only $2.50?

Quote:
Originally Posted by learn2turn
Last time I stayed at an inn, it was $79 for two nights with breakfast. Would I have paid $84 if the three or four people working at the inn were US ski bums, absolutely, without even thinking about it. I bet an extra $2.50 a night per gueast would be more than enough to cover the cost of entising US workers to take the jobs.
Your extra $2.50 per night wouldn't pay for even a single extra worker (american or foreign).

Just an observation, not knocking your argument.
post #9 of 157
This may be slightly off-topic but close enough

--Rant on --

what pisses me off the most is that - employers in the US love to hire foreign workers - as lifties or picking lettuce or babysitters or janitors - to reduce their costs. Consumers hate spending more on babysitters or lettuce. so we provide all the incentive we possibily can to get illegal immigrants into this country.

But -oh - we certainly don't want to let them get drivers licence (OUR roads could be safer). God forbid - if we want to let their kids into our schools (they would get off the streets and make OUR neighbourhoods safer).

Why is it so difficult to understand that the reason we have illegal immigrants in our country is bcos WE are providing them jobs. They are certainly not risking their lives to jump over the border so they could put their kids into OUR mediocre schools.

I think the politicians certainly know this. They don't want to do anything about it becos a) Big business (ex: Agriculture industry) lobbyists are lining their pockets and b) it is in their best political interests to keep stoking the anti-immigrant fire - certainly worth a few votes

--rant off -

on a lighter note - I love those cute aussie chics in the Heavenly ski school. Nice eye candy to start off the day !!!
post #10 of 157
I've noticed that many of the food service employees at Stevens Pass seem to be Hispanic. I heard that they work the winters at the ski area and work in the Wenatchee apple orchards in the summer. This would allow them to live in one place and, while seasonal workers in each industry, be full time residents. I wonder if there are other similar setups around the country?
post #11 of 157
Regarding the schools.

Park City has one elementary school that is a full, I believe, 30% hispanic.

The entire school district is in the top 2% in the nation.

Apparently the hispanic kids in the elementary school are excelling and they are doing better, scoring higher, than most of the kids in Utah regardless of race.
post #12 of 157
I am not sure if seasonal work is that big a problem.

What you do not want is scroungers or illegal immigrants. Some employers will turn a blind eye because they will work cheap. I am never sure if there is government complicity in this either ( I am thinking about Europe in this respect)

US has a tradition of taking foreign migrants - but the big difference is that the previous waves of immigrants had to be prepared to graft, because there was no soft living to be had.

Unfortunately, you do not have much say in who turns up in your country. Bureaucrats say 'yes' or 'no'.

I can remember in the old days when Australia had a 'white Australia' policy and they could not get enough Brits to go there on assisted passage fares.

One old Aussie bloke was complaining that the 'white Australia' policy had broken down because they let the Greeks in ! We laughed at the time at his strict views on the subject. However, the Greek Church is Orthodox - based in Constantinople and many Cypriots (which used to be a part of Greece at the time) are Turks.

Either way, I am sure he would never have considered himself part of the 'Asia Pacific' countries or welcomed links with Indonesia and Japan. The whole 'white Australia' thing was based on a fear of the 'yellow peril'.

Australia still occasionally gives bogus asylum seekers the heave ho - like the boat load of Iranians who sailed all the way round the world to get there instead of just crossing a couple of borders. Now you could say that the old bloke was just prejudiced and I would not disagree. However, if a significant part of the country shared his prejudices then the new arrivals could cause friction. So you could also say blocking them off pre-empts the problem.

They also tried dumping 'asylum seekers' in Northern Ireland - but the paramilitaries soon chased them out.

Anyway, in the old days granting 'asylum' was more a notional idea than reality. People often did not have the wherewithal to travel and many would get quietly blocked at the port of entry.

Personally, I would take all the Poles that we could fit. I would also want to kick out all the illegals and asylum seekers, such as gypsies and Somalis.

It also needs to be remembered that adult immigrants who actually work have cost the country they emigrate to nothing at all. They are immediately contributing to the economy of the host country - even if they do so to better their own way of life.
post #13 of 157
When I worked in Australia as an instructor, it was on an exchange program...for every American instructor down there, there was a reciprocal position in the US...this was 10 + years ago now though, and you didn't see many foreign workers at resorts at that time (at least in New England).
post #14 of 157
FWIW it adds to the international flavor of the resorts. You have Aussies and Kiwis serving American hot dogs and fries to Japanese tourists. Where else can you share a gondola with visiting Brits or talk skiing with a Chilean? And yes, +1 for partying apres ski with those foreign gals! Yummy. Why would I want my skiing experience to be like visting my local middle america mall?
post #15 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by asp125
FWIW it adds to the international flavor of the resorts. You have Aussies and Kiwis serving American hot dogs and fries to Japanese tourists. Where else can you share a gondola with visiting Brits or talk skiing with a Chilean? And yes, +1 for partying apres ski with those foreign gals! Yummy. Why would I want my skiing experience to be like visting my local middle america mall?
Could you not get that 'international flavor (sic)' in any big city in the US ? Say NewYork or Los Angeles ?
post #16 of 157
My personal theory. Local old timers are too old to work at the ski areas but they are still locals, retired, and still occupy housing near the ski areas. Now ski areas have two problems. They need employees and they need cheap housing for the foreign employees to stay. From what I hear the foreign young employees with work visas live in a room 4 or 6 to a room. Not sure if this is true but that is what one of the older Killington employees told me this year.
post #17 of 157
Let's see if my foggy old mind can remember what being a 30 year old ski bum in 1986 was like?? Four guys sharing a 3 bedroom apt. Salary just barely covered rent and heat. Tips paid for your food and beer. Summer job of landscaping, brick laying, house painting, whatever paid for new skiis or boots or whatever.
post #18 of 157
I have done a season in a Colorado rental shop during our University holidays in 1999/2000 and really enjoyed the experience. There are about half a dozen organizations set up to get kiwis work visas in the US and there is never any shortage of work available. Most of my friends have also done seasons in the US or Canada. I went over without a job lined up and on the first day of looking I was offered a job at every one of the 6 rental shops in town (I had already had three seasons working in rental shops over here). The place where I worked had about half Kiwis/Aussies with the remainder Americans. The turnover of the Americans was huge, they had less experience, they couldn't ski and they really didn't appreciate being there.

Finding decent accomodation was really the biggest problem, the resorts themselves sometimes provided some places to stay but my decision of where to go was based on where was my best chance of finding a decent place to stay for reasonably cheap - so Vail, Breckenridge, Copper were not an option.
post #19 of 157
[quote=Marty]This may be slightly off-topic but close enough

what pisses me off the most is that - employers in the US love to hire foreign workers - as lifties or picking lettuce or babysitters or janitors - to reduce their costs. <



Regarding ski resorts you could not be more wrong. Here at Sugarbush we hire several workers from South America and they do a great job. We hire them cause we cannot fill the jobs with the local workforce. As a matter of fact, we still had several job openings go unfilled even with the additional foreigner workers. It actually cost more to hire these foreign workers.

Here in Vermont we have a somewhat unique situation in that the state minimum wage is $7/hr, much higher than the $5.15 federal min wage. There are a few other states who also have higher mw's. Ski resort workers here at Sugarbush start at $7.50-8/hr.

This trend has been going on in the ski business for many years. About 30 years ago, making national news, Aspen brought in 2,000 foreign workers to meet the available job openings.

The bigger problem, that meets your statement, is the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries by corporations to reduce their costs.
post #20 of 157
I think of it sort of like a cruise ship. Foreigners sieze opportunities to join a cruise ship crew, eat mass produced food, work 7 days a week for 12 hours, and sleep in a 2'x6' bunk. For someone used to a typical american lifestyle this isn't so appealing - to other people with different standards it is very appealing. I talked to some of the (hispanic) bartenders on the only cruise I've taken and found that since their cost of living on the ship was pretty much zero they could send their entire income back to support their families. That is a lot of money south of the border. Ask the crew or the ship owners and they will say it is a win/win situation.


Using a similar - although not as extreme model - the mountain can efficiently and cheaply shelter (I dunno if they feed them also) a swarm of foreign labor jubilant to freeze their asses off for wages a local wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole. The cost of housing these people is small compared to what it would cost in additional wages/benefits to motivate locals to fill the positions.
post #21 of 157
Take away food stamps, 20 weeks of unemployment benies, child health plus, and all the other gov't givaways and see how quick a local gets motivated to work for $7.50 and hour. When minimum wage was $4.25 an hour and I was paying $6 to starters, the only thing I hated hearing more than " $240/week, I'm collecting $240 a week on unemployment." was "Can you pay me under the table so I can still collect my unemployment?"
post #22 of 157
Quote:
posted by Stache:

Take away food stamps, 20 weeks of unemployment benies, child health plus, and all the other gov't givaways and see how quick a local gets motivated to work for $7.50 and hour. When minimum wage was $5.25 an hour and I was paying $6 to starters, the only thing I hated hearing more than " $240/week, I'm collecting $240 a week on unemployment." was "Can you pay me under the table so I can still collect my unemployment?"


Where can you live in the East making $6 an hour? Full time work, taking home less than $1000 a month (gotta take taxes out of that, too!), when your cheapest rents are about $450? Gimme a break, Stache!

Ever try to have ANYTHING living on that kind of money? After your food, utilities (gotta have electricity, minimum) and transportation, you've got maybe $50 a week left over.......you're not living, you're existing.

Don't complain that you can't find people to work at that rate. Shame on you.
post #23 of 157
Lifties work full time. No American can work for that money and students are part timers. Most of the foriners are well manered kids. They do a pretty good job and they are friendly. They may not know much about the local situation but they are ok to talk to.

Met an Argentinian today at Mt Snow. He spoke good Spanish. He ran the lift well and was friendly. What the Hell.
post #24 of 157
only seems to be an issue with the "resorts." at the areas i ski at, it's all locals. and i'm skiing areas with 2000 verts, so it's not like i'm not seeing foreign workers because i am skiing a feeder mountain. it's always weird going to a big resort on the off chance i get to one, and not seeing locals running the area and lifts.
post #25 of 157
JHrefugee

The reason i said my comment was "slightly off-topic" - was because my rant applies to "illegal immigrants" and does not apply to workers who come here legally. legal workers do get (have to) paid competetively. your ski resort experience is the same as mine in the high-tech industry. Legal (H1-B) employees do get (have to) paid the same (or more in some cases) as US citizens.

I don't understand your comments about outsourcing to other countries. US corporations will continue to use Labor arbritrage to reduce costs for shareholders. I don't fault them for that. The only way we can reverse that trend is by becoming more competetive. And I see that happening already. Infrastructure and labor costs have risen astronomically in India/China over the last 18 months.

In the not too distant future you will see Indian/Chinese companies outsourcing jobs to other countries. You heard it here first.
post #26 of 157
Liftie one day, running for president the next.

It would be nice to have a more balanced mix of Americans and foreigners, but when Americans would rather bum money, live off parents or do welfare, businesses have to do what they do now. Progress...
post #27 of 157
Hey common Americans, where is your knowledge of comperative advantage.
My last hope fades away, noone able to understand liberal theory anymore. And if u really understand it and think about it, why not be happy about it.
My approach would be to have no states just free trade of everything (!). Everyone would be better off.
This does not mean that I like people cutting taxes on behalve of social welfare. that I hate. If businesses pay for black work - let it be know. That is not free trade but cheating.
post #28 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty
JHrefugee

The reason i said my comment was "slightly off-topic" - was because my rant applies to "illegal immigrants" and does not apply to workers who come here legally. legal workers do get (have to) paid competetively. your ski resort experience is the same as mine in the high-tech industry. Legal (H1-B) employees do get (have to) paid the same (or more in some cases) as US citizens.

I don't understand your comments about outsourcing to other countries. US corporations will continue to use Labor arbritrage to reduce costs for shareholders. I don't fault them for that. The only way we can reverse that trend is by becoming more competetive. And I see that happening already. Infrastructure and labor costs have risen astronomically in India/China over the last 18 months.

In the not too distant future you will see Indian/Chinese companies outsourcing jobs to other countries. You heard it here first.
Not exactly the first I have heard it but your right about the growing economies of India and China, especially China. One of the not so well known reasons for the forecast of continued high oil prices, tho a slight downturn this week, is the growing Chinese demand for the black gold.

Sorry, realize I am getting way off topic here.
post #29 of 157
Can we keep this on the topic of foreign lift attendants and not have it spiral into the ups and downs of global capitalism?

Please?
post #30 of 157

Good schools in Argentina?

Quote:
Originally Posted by paul jones
Met an Argentinian today at Mt Snow. He spoke good Spanish.
I sure hope so
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