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Medieval Times sound and lighting technicians will form a union

The rebellion inside the Medieval Times Southern California castle has spread to another wing.

The castle’s sound and lighting technicians informed the company on Tuesday that they intended to unionize, filing a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. The castle actors formed their own union last year and have been on strike since February.

In a letter declaring their intentions, the technicians said they decided to unionize in part because of the way management treated them during their colleagues’ work stoppage, “where we were wrongfully accused of sabotage “.

The workers said they plan to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 504, the union that represents stagehands at Disneyland. In their letter, the workers said they wanted Medieval Times to pay more attention to safety and raise wages to “meet industry standards”.

“We do not take this decision lightly, and this vote is the result of months of decision making regarding the future of our department and the changes we seek,” the letter to management reads.

The bargaining unit would include about ten employees.

Workers are demanding higher wages and safer working conditions at Medieval Times.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Medieval Times struggled to put down a labor uprising which began last summer, when the show’s cast, knights and squires from his New Jersey castle joined the American Guild of Variety Artists. Performers at California Castle, Buena Park, Coming Soon followed suit and joined the AGVA.

Until now, none of the technicians who produce the company’s broadcasts had asked for a union election. If the California workers are successful, the effort could spread to the same group of workers in other castles.

“We had always joked about unionization. Many technical professions [in entertainment] are already unionized,” said Emily Schmidt, sound and lighting technician. “After the strike, it became much more serious.”

Actors and castle knights declared a strike over ‘unfair labor practices’ on February 11, accusing the company of bargaining in bad faith and trying to silence them on social media. Much of the bargaining unit refused to work and held a picket line outside the castle, asking customers not to cross it.

“We had always joked about unionization… After the strike, it became much more serious.”

– Emily Schmidt, sound and light technician at Medieval Times

The technicians were not part of the union and therefore continued to work, but Schmidt said many of them supported the strikers for trying to improve their jobs. It was through the castle picket that the sound and lighting technicians met the IATSE staff.

“We have our own valid reasons for doing this,” Schmidt said of the technicians. “That said, I don’t know if we would have had the will to unionize if the events of the strike had not taken place.”

Medieval Times strongly opposed efforts to organize workers. In New Jersey, the company deployed an anti-union consultant at a cost of $3,200 a day, plus expenses, to discourage union formation there. Managers also held meetings at the California castle aimed at curbing the union effort.

In October, the company filed a complaint against AGVA alleging trademark infringement because of the name and logo the workers had adopted for their union, Medieval Times Performers United. Later, the company appears to have filed trademark infringement claims against social media accounts run by unionized workers at the California castle. The workers’ TikTok account has been banned.

The workers filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the labor board, saying the company was trying to silence them.

The sound and lighting workers demanded that the company voluntarily recognize their union with IATSE ― an unlikely scenario, given the company’s opposition to previous efforts. The labor board is more likely to schedule a secret ballot election as long as enough workers have signed union cards.

An IATSE representative said the union had the support of an overwhelming majority of workers in the proposed bargaining unit.

In their letter to management, the workers said they were “proud and delighted to join an organization whose members are treated with dignity and respect”.

The Huffington Gt

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