Hearing set for Beaver Creek union
BEAVER CREEK — An effort to unionize ski instructors at Beaver Creek has taken an important step forward.
Working on behalf of the Beaver Creek Instructors United, the Communications Workers of America last week filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a representation election. The first hearing in that election process is set for Thursday.
According to an emailed release from union spokesman Al Kogler, the petition had valid signatures from more than 30 percent of eligible instructors, the threshold at which an election can be held.
If the vote succeeds, the Beaver Creek instructors will become a local affiliate of the Communications Workers of America, which says it represents “600,000 workers in communications, media, airlines, manufacturing, public service, snow sports and health care.”
Kelly Selvidge, the assistant to the regional director at the Denver-area office of the National Labor Relations Board, said Thursday’s hearing will determine if the proper paperwork is in place and correct procedures have been followed in order to hold an election.
That hearing could be called off if Vail Resorts and Beaver Creek Instructors United sign an agreement to hold an election. An email from organizers of the unionization effort states that there could be a representation election before the end of this ski season. That could happen, Selvidge said.
“We hold elections as soon as is practicable,” Selvidge said. “It’s possible to hold an election within two or three weeks of filing.”
If an election is held, unionization requires a simple majority of votes.
While an election date isn’t yet certain, workers and management have already started presenting their cases to employees.
An email from those seeking to organize states, in part:
“Our core motivation is to ensure that we have a seat at the table with Vail Resorts in regard to shaping our work conditions. In recent years, ever-shifting work rules and a lack of transparency on issues — including wages, work assignments, workman’s comp, training remuneration and access to child care — have made it challenging for Beaver Creek’s instructors to provide the highest level of service to Beaver Creek visitors… By organizing as a union, we will have a stronger involvement in our own working conditions. We also will have the ability to ultimately strengthen the wages, training and certifications that promote the professional status of Beaver Creek’s instructional corps.”
A message to instructors from Beaver Creek Ski School Director Fred Rumford presents a different case.
“… We don’t believe a union supports the values that this team exudes and have worked for years to build,” the message states, while also acknowledging the instructors’ rights to organize.
“We are committed to making your employment experience the best that it can possibly be and again, I’m very proud of the fact that we provide fair treatment, personal respect, good working conditions, competitive wages, excellent benefits and a culture based on respect and ethical standards,” the message added. “We don’t treat everyone the same, instead we allow individuals to create their own path forward and grow their careers based upon personal priorities in their life.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org or @scottnmiller.