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    Strike among Medieval Times performers hits 9 months
    • November 10, 2023

    When Medieval Times performers launched an unfair labor practices strike against the company in February they probably never imagined it would last this long.

    But come Saturday, Nov. 11, the strike will hit the nine-month mark and the two sides appear to be no closer to reaching a labor agreement than when the walkout began.

    “We haven’t had a bargaining session since Sept. 13, and there was no real progress then,” said Erin Zapcic, who portrays a queen in the Buena Park dinner theater’s shows and is a co-strike captain. “The company hasn’t been motivated to work with us.”

    The performers launched their unfair labor practices strike on Feb. 11, claiming management has given substantial pay hikes to workers at other Medieval Times castles while their wages remain low amid unsafe work conditions.

    The 30 striking queens, trumpet players, chancellors, knights and squires plan to mark the somber nine-month milestone on Saturday with a rally featuring a performance by Tom Morello, a well-known activist and former guitarist for Rage Against the Machine.

    Saturday’s protest will be held from 1 to 2:15 p.m. in front of the the Buena Park castle, at 7662 Beach Blvd.

    The performers voted in November 2022 to join the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). But management, they say, has consistently blocked their efforts to secure a “living wage” and provide improved safety measures.

    Officials with Medieval Times and attorney Daniel J. Sobol, who represents the company, could not be reached for comment Friday.

    The unionization in Buena Park came on the heels of an earlier victory at Medieval Times’ Lyndhurst, N.J. castle where workers also secured AGVA membership.

    Both locations have suffered retaliation as a result, according to Susanne K. Doris, AGVA’s executive secretary-treasurer. Doris elaborated on the situation the shortly after employees joined the union.

    “After the New Jersey location voted to become part of the union, Medieval Times gave a $1-an-hour raise to employees at every castle except New Jersey,” she said. “And after Buena Park unionized, management started giving knights a 25% raise, while others in the show cast got a 15% to 20% raise. That happened at every castle except Buena Park and New Jersey.”

    The local performers currently average $18 to $19 an hour but would like to see that boosted to $25 an hour to keep pace with the high cost of living in Southern California.

    “We have knights who make $18.50  an hour, and they’re falling off of horses,” Zapcic said. “A similar performer at Disneyland makes $33 an hour for 15-minute shows with breaks in between.”

    Dallas-based Medieval Times operates a total of 10 castle dinner theaters, with additional locations in Dallas, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Scottsdale and Toronto.

    Saturday’s rally is intended to draw attention to their ongoing struggle and show solidarity with their cause.

    “Did I envision this lasting so long? I certainly wouldn’t have if you had asked me in February,” Zapcic said. “But after seeing what we’ve endured over the past months … this doesn’t surprise me.”

    Zapcic works as an administrator for a music company but hopes to return to her role as a Medieval Times performer.

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    “A lot of the striking performers are doing odd jobs here and there because lots of places are hiring seasonally right now,” she said. “We encourage folks to find jobs because we can’t support everyone out of the strike fund anymore.”

    Supporters who can’t attend Saturday’s rally but still wish to contribute to the cause can purchase a “2024 Knights on Strike Wall Calendar” at

    The minimum donation for a calendar is $20, with all proceeds going directly to help the striking performers.

    ​ Orange County Register