Several Aspen Club employees still looking for work

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times
This image rendering shows the Aspen Club and Spa redevelopment project, which the Aspen City Council approved last year. The project is an altered version of previous approvals.
Aspen Times file |

The Aspen Club’s estimate that it would help find work for about 90 percent of its staff appears to be coming up short just three days before it closes for a massive renovation.

Aspen Club Director Tim Power Smith said the club has reached out to all of its local contacts to help facilitate a job search for its workers.

“Whether it’s business owners, managers (or) former colleagues, we’ve tried to do as much as we could to place our employees into other employment,” he said.

Power Smith estimated Monday that nearly 90 percent of the club’s employees would have jobs in lieu of their Aspen Club jobs by the time the club closes Friday.

However, four of the five Aspen Club employees interviewed by The Aspen Times on Monday afternoon reported that they do not have another job to start when the club closes in three days.

Aspen Club receptionist Shelby Smith — the club employee who has a job lined up — said that one of her former employers at the Maroon Creek Club reached out to her after reading a previous Aspen Times article about The Aspen Club’s closure.

The Aspen Club’s executive staff had no role in facilitating the new employment opportunity, Smith said.

Feedback from Aspen Club employees as to how helpful the club has been in finding them new jobs range from very helpful to no help at all.

Aspen Club front-desk supervisor Luciano del Papa said he is waiting to hear back from a few places about jobs, but said the club helped him make those connections.

“They have a lot of contacts around from other hotels, and we had little meetings with them,” del Papa said.

Del Papa said he knows managers from the St. Regis and Hotel Jerome have visited The Aspen Club

An Aspen Club employee who works in the sports institute department but asked to remain unnamed said “many employees don’t know what they’re going to do or don’t have jobs lined up.”

“Especially for trainers and massage therapists, because there’s so many of them,” she said.

An Aspen Club trainer who also asked not to be named said she thinks Power Smith’s 90 percent estimate is misleading.

“I would say the majority of people are laid off,” she said. “I think a lot of people are not too happy about it.”

The trainer said she has struggled to find other work and that she feels the job search has been left entirely up to her.

“It’s always a challenge,” Power Smith said. “If we could place every single person in a position, we could. Unfortunately, that’s not a reality.”

Though Power Smith said he hopes to take back his “superstar employees” when the club reopens next year, no one is guaranteed a job.

Power Smith declined to comment on whether the club will be paying unemployment benefits.

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Public Information Officer Bill Thoennes said that, “Generally, if a place or business is closing down or shutting down for a period of time and the worker is losing their job for no fault of their own, they are likely eligible for employee benefits.”

While Thoennes made clear that this policy is case-by-case, he said that this is the department’s key criteria.


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