Tremblant, Union End Strike

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SAM Magazine-Mont Tremblant, Que., Jan. 3, 2006-The strike by 1,500 employees at Mont Tremblant ended today when union members accepted terms recommended by a provincial mediator. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. For Tremblant, the important news is that the resort will return to normal staffing quickly, perhaps by the coming weekend.

In a statement, the resort said, "Station Mont Tremblant is pleased that its unionized employees have accepted the negotiator's recommendations. . . . This acceptance means that everyone can now focus their attention on ski area and resort operations. . . . Our employees are at the heart of Mont-Tremblant's development, and by and large, it is thanks to them that Station Mont Tremblant has become what it is."

The strike began Dec. 17 and dragged through the Christmas and New Year's holidays. The area's 200-member management team kept the area functioning on a reduced basis, but resort visits for the holidays were down considerably. According to the Globe and Mail, Mont Tremblant normally hosts 12,000 skiers daily during the Christmas holiday, but only 5,000 daily during the strike. Estimates for lost holiday revenues are not available, but certainly run into the tens of millions of dollars.

Prior to the new agreement, the employees reportedly averaged C$13.90 hourly. The union was seeking a 15 percent raise over three years, along with increased benefits and job protection-bringing resort workers the same wages and benefits the union had gained for hotel industry members in Montreal earlier in 2005. Tremblant had offered 16 percent over five years, which the area said would place Tremblant employees at the top of the resort pay scale. Unionized employees rejected this proposal last week, prompting the mediator to submit a list of recommendations.