In the 1980s the Whistler Question began posing a question to three to six people and publishing their responses under “Whistler’s Answers” (not to be confused with the Whistler Answer). Each week, we’ll be sharing one question and the answers given back in 1983. Please note, all names/answers/occupations/neighbourhoods represent information given to the Question at the time of publishing and do not necessarily reflect the person today.
Some context for this week’s question: In May 1983, Whistler Council passed a resolution to lower trail crew wages from $8.50/hour to $6.50/hour for all staff hired after May 15, 1983, in order to keep municipal wages in line with the wages paid for similar work by other businesses in the valley. This was met with mixed reactions. Whistler Mountain said that it had been having trouble hiring lift operators at $5.50/hour when they were earning more from the municipality in the winter, some thought it was unfair to expect taxpayers to subsidize the municipality’s higher rate of pay, and others thought that the job security and preferential hiring for future seasons were benefits that made up for the lower wage. However, Blackcomb Mountain said they had not been having trouble finding seasonal employees, and other pointed out that parks and recreation workers in West Vancouver (who were unionized) were making $11.15/hour for the same work.
Question: Do you think the municipality should pay lower wages to its seasonal employees to stay in line with what the mountains pay?
Dave Manual – Garbologist – Alta Vista
Two factors are involved that make me disagree with that idea. First the trail crew does a lot of hard physical work and second the lifties are underpaid anyway. They’re expecting people to live below the poverty line. Everyone’s into cutting back these days but such a drastic cut is unnecessary.
Andy Williamson – Dishwasher – Gondola Area
That’s nuts! You can’t justify lowering the wages of one group of people just because another group is underpaid in the first place. The lifties get certain privileges with their jobs to help compensate for low wages, what can they offer the trail crew?
Kevin Morgan – Employment Bridging Assistance Program Employee – White Gold
I think the municipal trail crew should be earning even more than they are. They are out there doing very physical labour and several of them have experience. They deserve all the money they get – no way should their wages by any less than they are.