As One Castle Strikes, Another Medieval Times Castle Petitions To Decertify Its Union
More than a year after show cast actors, stunt performers, and stable hands at Medieval Times castle in Lyndhurst, New Jersey voted 26 to 11 to unionize with the American Guild of Variety Artists (AVGA), employees have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a decertification election.
The New Jersey petition was filed as Medieval Times’ unionized workers in Southern California enter their sixth month of striking at the entertainment and dining venue.
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Medieval Times’ show cast workers in New Jersey and California unionized last year in two separate election among the headline-making surge of union organizing that spread across the nation. However, employees at the company’s seven other castles did not unionize. Nor, did the company’s retail and food service workers at the New Jersey or California locations.
As neither location has a contract, in February, the show cast in California chose to walk out on strike between performances, prompting the company to replace strikers with cast members from its seven other union-free castles.
Despite the strike, the California castle has continued to hold shows to a public that does not seem to care that some workers are striking.
In April, as one patron tried to enter Medieval Times past the picketers, he was blocked and decided to drive through the picket line anyway, striking the picketer.
“Many workers in the castle’s stables department, which is part of the union, have chosen to continue working through the stoppage,” HuffPost’s Dave Jamieson reported in February. “But more than half the bargaining unit has opted to join the picket line.”
Over the course of the past six months, there have been at least two striking knights who have abandoned the strike and returned to work, according to a person knowledgable about the strike.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the petition to hold a decertification election was filed with the Newark regional office of the NLRB, and it is too early to tell whether the union will attempt to block the workers’ ability to vote the union out by filing so-called blocking charges in an effort to delay a decertification vote.
If that does happen, it could be months or, perhaps, even longer before employees would have the right to vote on whether they keep the union as their agent or not.
In May, the National Right to Work Foundation, a not-for-profit legal foundation that often helps workers to decertify unions, stated in a release that NLRB statistics show a 20% increase in decertification petitions last year versus 2021.