Letter to the editor: Vail Resorts executives must support our workers and community
Letter writer Ken Vagnini asked the community to “support Vail Resorts during these difficult times.” I’ve got a different perspective: Vail Resorts should support its employees and our community during these difficult times.
Vail Resorts, one of the major employers in Summit County, makes millions off the blood, sweat and tears of the thousands of workers who make the day-to-day operations of Breckenridge and Keystone ski resorts possible. Vail Resorts sold a record 2.1 million Epic passes this season. Vail Resorts’ annual gross profit for 2021 was $830 million, a 6.96% increase from 2020. Despite this huge revenue, Vail Resorts has been unable to attract and retain talent to operate its resorts. A quick search on Vail Resorts careers shows 186 open positions at Breckenridge and 169 at Keystone. In all, there are 934 open positions in Colorado.
Why can’t Vail find qualified employees? I have a few suspicions:
- Inadequate, below-market-rate wages: Vail Resorts’ starting wage is $15 an hour. This is truly insulting to the human beings who perform the daily operations that make the experience for the millions of tourists who visit our community. Walmart, Target and Whole Foods all have higher starting wages.
- Lack of employee housing for seasonal workers: Vail Resorts does not provide adequate, nor clean, employee housing. Four adults squeezed into a two-bedroom apartment is a common occurrence. There have been outbreaks of disease and bed bugs in employee housing. This is a disgrace to the workers. The bait-and-switch promise of housing for J1 visa holders is an entirely different tragedy.
- Oppressive vaccine mandates: Vaccine mandates have caused many longtime employees to not return and to seek work elsewhere.
In short, instead of asking our community to support the multibillion dollar Wall Street corporation, let’s ask them to support our people and our community.
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