I came across an interesting Letter To the Editor at ManchesterJournal.com wherein the author is beating up on ski resorts that seek to hire foreign workers under the H2B Visa program. The author, and indeed, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, claims the wages Killington, and other resorts, offer are so low local people cannot live on them. The letter states:
Killington itself requested 180 H-2B visas for foreign workers last winter at wages that averaged around $8 and hour.Yet the Joint Fiscal Office of the Vermont State Legislature reports that it takes a full time year-round wage of $16.33 for a single person in a rural area to meet a basic needs budget.
Now weigh the above against this info from the 9/10 National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) Research Newsletter. The newsletter passes on the following from this year’s National Ski Areas Association Salary Survey:
Wages for ski resort industry employees increased to an average (non-supervisory and supervisory) of $16 per hour, a 5.5% increase over the previous year. Non-supervisory wages grew an average of 7.5% to $11.84 per hour when compared to previous year levels.
The Newsletter adds "More than 95 resorts with 80,000 full and part-time workers participated in this year’s NSAA Salary Survey. For information on obtaining the full report, contact NSAA Member Services Director..." [FYI - I emailed the NSAA Member Services Director to get the full report but was told "I’m sorry but the Salary Survey is only available to ski areas! ! !]
I've worked as a liftee at the Big K, before ASC, and lived in the staff house. I know I wasn't paid much, but I was basically bummin' and not supporting a family. However, aside from the ski bums, locals made up the rest of the workforce and I know they were definitely supporting families - I was invited to dinner with more than one family.
I was given a job and cheap housing deducted from my wages. What was the difference between me and the H-2Bs? Most notably, when the winter crapped out in February and Ramshead turned to a hill of mud, I spent my next check on a bus ticket to Winter Park - not home to Kahazistan...