Medieval Times workers set to vote on if they will unionize
Workers at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst are making a move to unionize.
Employees are set to vote in July to decide if they will join the American Guild of Variety Artists.
Purnell Thompson is a stable hand who helps care for the 24 horses used for the performances at Medieval Times.
Thompson is one of 40 actors, stable hands and stunt performers banding together to guarantee a safer workplace and one with regular wage increases. Many of the employees currently only earn minimum wage.
“Last I checked we have a supermajority leading toward ‘Yes,’” Thompson says. “We'd love to have a more secure workplace. The pay is a big issue. We're not competitive with the pay rates within a lot of fields or similar jobs within this field."
The AGVA also represents the Rockettes, as well as performers at places like Disneyland and Cirque Du Soleil.
A representative in the union tells News 12 New Jersey, “By bringing the performers and stable hands at Medieval Times, Lyndhurst, NJ, to the ‘table,’ we will collaboratively negotiate a fair Collective Bargaining Agreement, which ensures that wages are commensurate with skills, improves safety protocols (and enforces them) and brings about a respectful working environment."
So far, management with Medieval Times has not commented on the attempt to unionize.
But Thompson says that they are trying to discourage the workers from doing so.
“We’ve had a union buster brought in. They’re paying him a lot of money to sway us the other way,” Thompson says.
Employees tried to organize in 2006, but failed.
The AGVA says that they are now hearing from performers at other Medieval Times across the country.