Performers at Medieval Times in New Jersey, the popular dinner theater chain known for its staged jousting and swordplay, have voted to form their first union in company history. Photo courtesy of Medieval Times Performers United/Twitter
July 16 (UPI) — Performers at Medieval Times in New Jersey, the popular dinner theater chain known for its staged jousting and swordplay, have voted to form their first union in company history.
The Knights and Noblewomen – as well as Stuntmen and Steady Hands – of Lyndhurst Castle voted 26 to 11 to join the American Guilt of Variety Artists, according to the Medieval Times Performers United in a report.
“We are delighted to have won our union and grateful for the solidarity shown by our colleagues. The advice and assistance of AGVA staff and members has been instrumental in helping us through this process, and we are proud to join AGVA and the wider labor movement,” the statement read.
“Next, we will use our collective voice to negotiate a strong first contract. We look forward to working with management to create a fairer, safer and more enjoyable medieval time. Together, we will build a workplace that will allow us to thrive. while doing the work we love.”
Medieval Times was founded in Spain and first came to Florida in 1983. The organizing efforts apply only to artists in New Jersey and not to workers at the Texas-based company’s other nine locations in North America. North.
In a report first announcing union organizing efforts in June, workers said Medieval Times was “struggling with staff, security and safety after reopening the COVID-19 shutdown.”
“Furthermore, our salaries have not kept pace with those in similar positions in our industry and what is required for a living wage in Lyndhurst,” the June statement said.
“With our seat at the table with management, we aim to collaborate to improve safety protocols and their enforcement, as well as create fairer pay scales.”
Monica Garza, an actress who earns $20 an hour as an 11th-century queen, told the New York Times that management made her feel like a “diva” for asking for increased security measures because of rowdy guests.
“An important point of the union is just basic respect,” Garza said. “People will always exploit you when it’s something you love, because they know you’ll do it for nothing.”
The Medieval Times organizing push comes as workers across the country seek to organize at big corporations like Amazon and Starbucks.
“We had to wait until the end of our show last night to celebrate our union victory, but we couldn’t be happier!” The union tweeted.