Aspen School Seeks Replacement for Team Leader System
SAM Magazine-Aspen, Colo., Sept. 30, 2011-The Aspen Skiing Co. is seeking a new structure to replace the snowsport school's Team Leader system and maintain open lines of communication within the school. The Team Leader system was developed 18 years ago as part of management's efforts to derail a move to unionize the school. However, the National Labor Relations Board recently ruled that the program violates labor regulations, and the team leader positions have been eliminated.
The school now aims to "develop a new system that will encourage the continued culture of collaboration and communication," said Katie Ertl, managing director of the ski school, in an email to instructors. To that end, the school has already held two meetings with instructors and plans more, according to the Aspen Times.
The Team Leader system was adopted in 1993 as part of several steps taken to improve relations between the Skiing Co. and the instructors, and to make the school one of the best in the nation. The leaders, elected by their fellow instructors, represented different divisions of the school, as well as the company's different resorts (Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands, and Aspen) and served on several advisory boards, along with management representatives.
The NLRB ruling was spurred by former ski instructor Lee Mulcahy, who claimed he was fired for trying to start a union. The NLRB investigated and found otherwise, but said changes were needed to the Team Leader program so that the Skiing Co., can't "dominate, assist or otherwise support" the advisory boards.