Medieval Times’ union campaign has breached the walls of a second castle.
Workers at the company’s Buena Park, California, site voted 27 to 18 for joining the American Guild of Variety Artists on Thursday, according to a union spokesman. The union will represent the knights, squires, grooms and cast who put on the Texas-based chain’s famous dinner theater shows.
Workers in another castle in northern New Jersey formed the first Medieval Times union that summer, prompting workers in California to start signing union cards. The company has nine locks in the US and one in Canada.
The National Labor Relations Board has yet to confirm the results of the last election and the company has one week to object to the count.
In a statement, the union called the vote an “important step to ensure a fairer and safer work environment with decent living wages”. Medieval Times could not be immediately reached for comment.
The union’s success at Medieval Times comes amid a wave of new organizing at US companies, largely driven by workers’ frustration with pay and safety during the pandemic. The NLRB has reported a significant increase in the number of workers seeking elections, with the number of union petitions recently hitting a 5-year high. Employers like Amazon, Starbucks, Apple and Trader Joe’s have all seen some of their US workforce unionize for the first time.
Medieval Times staffers in both New Jersey and California previously told HuffPost they are doing so felt underpaid for their work and wanted the chain to improve safety and security, citing injuries sustained during shows and rehearsals and inadequate crowd control.
They said they hoped a union could give them a voice at work and help raise wages at the company, with several saying they started near minimum wage in their respective states.
“We love what we do,” says Erin Zapcic, one of the queens of the castle. said HuffPost in July. “Most of the time, people only move on when they feel they have to. They want to start a family or buy a house. You shouldn’t have to leave a job you love because you can no longer afford to keep it.”
Medieval Times has opposed the union campaign, calling the union a “third party” and suggesting workers may never secure an initial contract. After the New Jersey castle unionized, the company informed workers at other locations that they would be getting a raise.
The company even filed a lawsuit against their new workers’ union and accused them of copyright infringement because the workers had adopted the name “Medieval Times Performers United”. The union described the lawsuit as an “unlawful brawl” and filed a complaint with the NLRB alleging unfair labor practices, saying the lawsuit amounted to unlawful intimidation.