Strike Hobbles Mont Tremblant Resort

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Publish Date

12/19/2005

SAM Magazine-Mont Tremblant, Que., Dec. 19, 2005-More than 700 Mont Tremblant workers voted today to stay off the job until a contract settlement is reached with the resort. The strikers include all mountain ops and hotel employees-among them ski instructors, lift operators, maintenance workers, parking lots attendants, and food and beverage employees. Tremblant's management remains hopeful that a deal can be reached before the Christmas-New Year's holiday period begins.

Today, the management team is staffing two lifts, with 29 trails open, as negotiations on the contract continue.

Union leaders are holding out for the same agreement as was negotiated by other unionized members of the hotel and recreation industry sector of the Commerce Federation Inc. (CSN). a demand that Tremblant spokespeople say would raise operating costs by 47 percent. The leaders said they will use the upcoming holiday season to leverage a settlement satisfactory to their members.

The union staged a 24-hour strike from midnight Friday to midnight Saturday, which prompted resort managers to take the unusual step of urging potential guests to stay away for the weekend.

Tremblant's management remains hopeful that a deal can be reached quickly. "Mont Tremblant Resort wishes to reach a negotiated settlement satisfactory to both parties, a settlement that will ensure the long-term viability of the company, the maintenance of the many worthwhile jobs that have been created over the past fourteen years, and the development of the region," Tremblant management explained in a statement. "Mont Tremblant Resort management staff will continue to work to provide clientele with the best possible service under the circumstances." \

Comments

Worth the cost

I have been in the industry for 18 years and see a drastic decline in quality, service and safety that can be directly related to employee retention and recruitment practices, or more accurately put, wages. I believe that the average wage stated here is actually higher than the average. Included in it are ski instructor wages who generally speaking, are paid higher wages because they average less than 5 hours a day and that work is directly related to business flow and weather conditions. Many resorts/ski schools do not follow standard employment practices when adjusting to business flow, not to mention allowing for lunch breaks and the such. You may also notice that there is an awful lot of international students working in North American resorts, this trend is not for novelty but comes out of neccesity. There is little incentive to bump chairs at a resort that sells a season pass for US$300 and a good bartender can clear that easily on a busy night. Unfortunately that means that resorts are relying on students who have a three to four month break from university classes, many of whom speak english as a second language, to run the daily operations of a 5-6 month season. That equates to a lot of staff turn-over and a training nightmare. From my vantage point I value the peace of mind knowing that my ski bindings were adjusted and mounted by an experienced shop technician who has been on the job more than a week and tuned by someone who is proven to get the best performance out of the investment I made in my skis. I want to know that my child's instructor is a professional with experience, trained to teach and skilled in the sport. Not a student who's skiing experience is limited to a few days and has been supplied rental equipment to perform their job with boots 2 sizes too big. When non-skiers fit and size rental boots the tendency is for women and children to get grossly oversized boots, a risk for injury. These are service issues that are avoidable and can ruin the guest's experience. I do not want to delve into to safety issues of the mountain opperations but will mention that the lifts we ride are complex machinery which require trained professionals to maintain and opperate them. There are also snowmobiles and grooming equipment travelling on the mountain. These all pose a safety risk if not operated by trained personnel. These are things that I value and am willing to wager a week or two's wages for.

The strikers might get more money but at a cost

I have just returned to England from Tremblant and suffered two weeks of the strike.Many people from the UK were there and had their christmas holidays ruined due to lack of childcare and limited skiing.Dozens of people said that they would never risk going 3500 miles to ski again.The strikers might well win this dispute but could find they have no one to teach/feed/park when they return and not just this year,but for many years to come.Some will surely lose their jobs and they will deserve to,using the public as pawns and intimidating them in the lift queues was unforgivable in my opinion.If they dont want to work for Intrawest then find other jobs,sorry i forgot,they didnt have any before Intrawest came along.

You don't realize how good it is until it's gone.

$13.90 cent an hour is the average wage for the employee on strike currently at Tremblant. For all intent an purpose these are not highly educated people, and they are quite aware they are paid a fair and equitable salary when compared to other resorts in the region. If the union thinks they will pressure Intrawest, they are grossly mistaken. Although a prolonged work stoppage will hurt Intrawest financially, I would imagine the worker making a modest salary will feel it more. It is my opinion that Intrawest should hold strong and break this union so a precedent will not be set.

You don't realize how good it is until it's gone.

$13.90 cent an hour is the average wage for the employee on strike currently at Tremblant. For all intent an purpose these are not highly educated people, and they are quite aware they are paid a fair and equitable salary when compared to other resorts in the region. If the union thinks they will pressure Intrawest, they are grossly mistaken. Although a prolonged work stoppage will hurt Intrawest financially, I would imagine the worker making a modest salary will feel it more. It is my opinion that Intrawest should hold strong and break this union so a precedent will not be set.

Ski Resort wages have not kept pace with the cost of living

Really?
For those of you in "instruction" define "pros". If it spreads to the US I would not lose that "second job".

Patroller Tremblant

The issue is not blacl or white in the Tremblant strike, I worked for 15 years at this site. Here are some points. The center is a "tourist magnet" for the region.In the 70"s Tremblant was near bankrupcy. Unemployemeny hit 20% in area before Interwest. This union in Quebec is a militant aggressive organization that lives in the "old school" confrontation era!
I may seem to be anti-union but thqt is not the case. There is a need for worker protection and better work conditions. However skiing is seasonal. Workers want full yearly jobs. Retirement benefits, etc...

Careful before choose one side! Please keep away from sexist or ethnocentric comments!! " French issue".

WHO RUNS BARTER TOWN ????

?

Ski resort wages have not kept pace with the cost of living

A few years ago I was preparing the department budget at a ski area. I was able to obtain a copy NSAA wage and salary survey fron the 78-79 season. Rather than tack on the customary $2 a day increase from the previous season I used the inflation adjusted method. The numbers were not even close. Needless to say those numbers were not accepted. I was demoted and the president bought a new Audi. And by the way, how come the results of the annual wage survey kept such a huge secret?

Way To Go Tremblant Employees

I know us in the industry (instruction) have been discussing possibilities for years. This is the only sport where the pro's don't make a living wage. All we want is just enough to pay the bills.

Christmas is a great time, if we make no money, neither do they.

Fire them!! Forget it, we are overworked and underpayed. Most people in the industry do it for the love of snow, and bust their butts at a second job.

If this spreads to the US, and I hope it does, I TOO WILL STRIKE...it is about time.

Way To Go Tremblant Employees

I know us in the industry (instruction) have been discussing possibilities for years. This is the only sport where the pro's don't make a living wage. All we want is just enough to pay the bills.

Christmas is a great time, if we make no money, neither do they.

Fire them!! Forget it, we are overworked and underpayed. Most people in the industry do it for the love of snow, and bust their butts at a second job.

If this spreads to the US, and I hope it does, I TOO WILL STRIKE...it is about time.

RE:

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM FRENCH CANADIANS

Ski area workers have bills to pay too

I could write a book about this issue. How about a role reversal. I'd love to see some silver-spooned management geek stripped of their assets, given a shiity little room they have to share, and a job scrubbing toilets at minimum wage. It reminds me of the time a GM held a meeting after a very profitable season. The topic was a reduction of work hours to cut costs. He closed by advising the staff to buy into the new condo development as he had just purchased two units for himself. Ok... I earned $18000 last year and will be earning $16000 this year. Hey Mr Mortgage Banker would you loan me $300000 for a condo my boss told me to buy? Yea right.

Fire them

Probably overpayed and underworked already.

Ski Patroller

The workers have been oppressed by management way to long. It's about time the workers took a stand. If only the unionized ski resort workers in the US did the same.

Merry Christmas

Christmas is not about greed and I don't think intra west is scrooge. Pick a different holiday and differnt time of year for the love of the sport, talk and sort it out.

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