It took years of effort, but Big Sky Patrol now has representation for collective bargaining. PHOTO COURTESY BIG SKY SKI PATROL

Big Sky Ski Patrol unionizes

Years of effort now equal the option of collective bargaining

Big Sky Ski Patrol decided to unionize by a 69-21 vote.

“It’s been years in the making,” wrote Jelica Summerfield, who is a Big Sky Ski Patroller on the organizing committee.

Now, represented by the United Professional Ski Patrols of America (UPSPA) and Communication Workers of America (CWA), Big Sky Ski Patrol can engage in collective bargaining.

According to skipatrol.net the occupation is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous, service oriented and underpaid jobs at resorts.

Per the UPSPA website, dues are typically 1.3% of wages and are used to negotiate “good jobs and benefits, decent working conditions and a better future for our families.”

Communication Workers of America filed a representation petition for approximately 100 Big Sky Resort employees, all involved in the patroller, avalanche forecaster, avalanche technician and dispatcher classifications for the purpose of collective bargaining, according to documents from the National Labor Relations Board.

A mail-in ballot was selected as the appropriate means for the election, in light of COVID-19. Those ballots were sent out April 1, received by the Labor Relations Board by April 27 and were counted by “an agent of the National Labor Relations Board on Thursday, April 29… with participants being present via electronic means.”

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