The union representing Park City Mountain Resort’s ski patrol held a second educational rally Thursday, in conjunction with a negotiating session with PCMR over a new contract.
Thursday’s rally was the second of the year by the union after an initial educational rally on January 16th in front of PCMR. Thursday’s rally was on Main Street.
The resort’s patrollers have been working without a contract in place since January 1st after negotiations with the resort broke down last December.
According to the union, the central issues patrollers are hoping to address are access to sick time and a small pay raise, while keeping the majority of their old contract in place.
Joe Naunchick is the president of the patrol union and said the public has seen the rallies as positive.
“Public reaction was overwhelmingly positive,” he said. “We hold ourselves out as members of the community and we’re glad the community sees us as valuable members. You know, if the mountain doesn’t open, the economy shuts down here and the ski patrol, lift mechanics, lift operators, we all open the mountain and it’s great to see that the public realizes that and supports us.”
The two rallies this year have not been work stoppages and union members who participated were on scheduled off days. Patrollers are still getting paid by the resort, but without a contract they do not have lockout protections or the ability to settle grievances with the resort.
The two sides came together for another round of negotiations on Thursday and were, for the first time, joined by someone in a senior leadership position at the resort -- PCMR COO Mike Goar.
In a statement sent to KPCW, Goar said of the negotiations:
“I have had the opportunity to talk to many of our patrollers over the last few weeks about their concerns. As a former ski patroller myself, I respect and deeply appreciate everything they do for our operations – especially in a year as challenging as this one. Now that we are well into the season with much of our preparations for COVID-19 behind us, I have been able to join the bargaining sessions with our ski patrol’s union, including a productive session today and another scheduled for next week, and feel confident both sides are working together in good faith to make progress while ensuring we provide our guests with a successful season.”
Naunchick said while the addition of Goar to the negotiating table is a step in the right direction, the union continues to push for the inclusion of a federal mediator. Both sides would have to agree to that and as of this report, Naunchick said the resort has not shown a willingness to do so.
“Hopefully someone of [Goar’s] stature can bring a decision maker to the table and we’re hopeful that he can move us forward,” said Naunchick. “We still think that a federal mediator is the best way to do that, but we will have to wait and see how it goes with Mike. [The mediator] helps the process along and they do it in a way both parties agree to, so there’s not really a set way that they would impose anything on us and either party could end the mediators involvement, so we see it as a win-win with no real downside.”
Another bargaining session between PCMR and the patrol union is scheduled for next week.
Editors note: This story was edited to correct a mispelling of the word "shuts"