- EWC Community
Employees form the First Workers Union of Medieval Times in New Jersey
By: Andrew Lu
Workers for a Medieval Times branch in New Jersey, a “dinner-theater” chain, form the first worker’s union in the company. The union consists of 40 knights, squires, and actors – all the medieval positions you can think of.
The entertainment company serves you a medieval dinner in a replica of a castle while you watch knights fight and other actors act. It’s a clever and innovative business idea.
The union decided to join the American Guild of Variety Artists last Friday. The vote was overseen by the National Labor Board, but the decision is not final yet.
Employees said that they were grateful for the audience's support and the suggestions they received from the union. The workers said, “Together, we will build a workplace that allows us to thrive while doing the work we love.”
Workers hope to improve their salaries and welfare with the new union. They specifically said they want to focus on security and safety because the stunts are dangerous. And the sometimes rowdy crowd doesn't improve their work environment.
Employees told HuffPost they deserve better wages; some make as little as $13 an hour, barely more than the state’s minimum wage. They also mentioned there should be better security to control the crowd.
“Our situation has become pretty dire at the castle,” one employee told HuffPost. “Something has to be done.” Medieval Times refused to respond to this case.
The workers have a tough work environment, with knights frequently smashing lances at each other, carrying vast pieces of armor, and training to stay in shape. The actors, such as the queen, must keep the crowd at bay while still acting like the character. And squires must keep the horses calm, as they might get too excited.
“They [the company] treat a lot of the professionally trained actors like anybody can do this job,” said Purnell Thompson, a stablehand and union supporter. “They treat a lot of the stablehands like we’re fully replaceable and they consider it an entry-level job. I’ve worked entry-level animal care jobs. This is not that.”
This is not the first we’ve seen workers opposing their employer recently – such things happened with Amazon, Starbucks, and Apple. Employers should give their workers better wages, security, and welfare.