Medieval Times wants to keep employees in the Dark Ages

Medieval Times worker Purnell Thompson at the stables in his castle in Lyndhurst, New Jersey

Medieval Times is paying an anti-union consultant $3,200 per day to hold meetings with workers to counter efforts by the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA), an AFL-CIO affiliated labor organization that represents performing artists and stage hands in live performances.

AGVA is hoping to bring more better safety, pay and respect to Medieval Times workers who want to unionize their castle.

Rian Wathen, of the Independent Center for Worker Education, is hoping to cash in for a greedy corporation willing to pay him $3200 a day in order to convince actual laborers that they don’t need to stick together for higher wages, improved safety and better working conditions.

The vote is slated for July 15.

Wathen claims that he has a win rate of over 94 percent on numerous union certification and decertification campaigns that he has overseen for employers in both Canada and the United States.

Rian has overseen numerous union certification and decertification campaigns for employers in both Canada and the United States with a win rate of over 94%.

The union-busting consultant targets employees in workplaces that are organizing even though the right to unionize is protected by U.S. federal law.

The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA) guarantees the right of employees to organize into unions, engage in collective bargaining, and take collective action.

Under the NLRA, workers have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection.

The right to unionize is also protected by the U.S. Constitution, since the First Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech, assembly, and petition, as well as freedom of association which is recognized by U.S. courts as a fundamental right.

“What they deal with is nuts: guests spooking the horses, grabbing the falcon, even putting their hands on the queen,” said Huffington Post labor reporter Dave Jamieson, who interviewed Medieval Times workers at the chain’s New Jersey castle.

Jamieson said workers launched the union campaign hoping to improve safety at the surprisingly dangerous job, where performers who work with live animals and perform physical stunts often start at New Jersey’s minimum wage.

On average, union workers’ wages are 11.2% higher than their nonunion counterparts. Ninety-six percent of union workers have employer-provided health insurance, but only 69% of nonunion workers do.

While union dues can cost about $500 a year, additional wages earned by members of organized labor are usually ten or 20 times that much.

Two other unions, Actors Equity and IATSE, nearly unionized this castle in 2006 — they lost a very close election in which 16 employers voted yes and 18 workers voted no.

“You can hear it backstage sometimes, it’s so loud,” said Purnell Thompson, a stablehand at the Lyndhurst, New Jersey, location. “We’ve had people thrown off their horses from the horses getting spooked. There’s only so much you can do to keep them under control at that point.”

The knights, squires, show cast, and stablehands of Lyndhurst will vote July 15 on whether or not to unionize under an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Around 40 workers would be included in the union.

Food and administrative workers are employed under a separate corporate entity and would not be part of the bargaining unit.

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament generates about $530 million in revenue and the union-busting consultant grabbed $57,500 in PPP loans intended to provide relief for businesses suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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