Lee Mulcahy, a former Aspen Skiing Co. instructor who was fired on Monday, also has been banned from the company’s four ski areas and its privately-owned properties.
SkiCo spokesman Jeff Hanle confirmed Wednesday that Mulcahy has been banned from the ski areas and all company-owned property since Dec. 30, when he distributed fliers to guests in the SkiCo-owned Little Nell and in the Silver Queen Gondola Plaza criticizing the ski school’s pay policies.
Mulcahy, who was wearing his ski school uniform, slid the fliers under hotel room doors and distributed them in the Little Nell’s dining room during one of the busiest days of the season. The fliers criticized SkiCo’s owners, the Crown of family of Chicago, for allegedly not paying a living wage to beginning instructors while the company reaps profits from expensive lessons.
The move was the straw that broke the camel’s back for SkiCo officials, who say they’ve had performance issues and behavioral problems with Mulcahy since 2006. As a result, he was terminated.
“Lee is currently banned from all Aspen Skiing Co. mountains and property, until we make a decision otherwise, for his inappropriate behavior and harassing our guests,” Hanle said, adding the ban is indefinite — “until he proves that he is not going to harass our guests or employees.”
Hanle added that Mulcahy hasn’t proven that he can hold civil discourse when it comes to his issues with SkiCo.
Mulcahy was suspended with pay for a week and then three weeks without pay for passing out the pamphlets on company property, which also advertised his group “People 4 a Living Wage,” which is in favor of unionizing ski school and other mountain employees. Currently, only the ski patrol is unionized among SkiCo divisions.
Mulcahy, an instructor since 1996, said Wednesday he found the ban on him “fascinating.”
The ban doesn’t allow him to buy a lift ticket, hike up the mountains, eat in any of the restaurants or step foot on anything owned by the SkiCo; all the base areas of the four mountains are private property.
If he does enter SkiCo property, Mulcahy will be arrested for trespassing, Hanle said.
Hanle said because the SkiCo leases land with the U.S. Forest Service, the public land is under SkiCo’s purview. He added that people have been banned from SkiCo property in the past.
Mulcahy last year ramped up his effort pressuring SkiCo to increase the starting wage of $69 a day for beginning instructors, since the company charges $625 for a full private lesson, even if taught by a rookie.
In recent weeks, his campaign has become a bitter and public dispute between him and his bosses, as well as the community at large, through the opinion pages of local newspapers.
Mulcahy this past fall filed two charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Denver, claiming the company violated federal labor law.
One charge claims that SkiCo “unlawfully” restructured its ski school in 1993. In the second charge, Mulcahy says he was taken off the “Diamond Pro” team “in retaliation” for his discussions about unionizing.
The complaints are currently under investigation by the NLRB.
SkiCo maintains it has acted within the law.
Mulcahy, who has hired an attorney, said his performance and past behavior as an employee is not the issue, and that he is being unfairly targeted for speaking out. He added that for many years, he was the top revenue producing instructor at SkiCo.
“I don’t have anything to lose,” he said. “Everything I did, I stand behind it.”