Medieval Times Buena Park workers end strike

Show performers and stable hands at Medieval Times’ Buena Park castle are ending their nine-month strike and will return to work Wednesday morning without a contract agreement, the union said.

On Friday, the union made an “unconditional offer to return to work” — a decision that was “weighed against numerous logistical and legal factors” and not made lightly, it said in a statement.

“We felt that it was in our best interest to continue to try to work toward the collective bargaining agreement while returning to work,” said Erin Zapcic, who plays a queen at the Buena Park castle and serves as a union steward. “Our fight’s not over, and just because we’re going back to work doesn’t mean we’re not 1000% committed to getting a collective bargaining agreement that makes Medieval Times as safe and equitable as it possibly can be.”

The roughly 50-person bargaining unit includes knights, squires, stable hands and show cast members, including trumpet players and actors playing the queen, lord chancellor, lord marshal and Lord Cedric. About 27 workers were on strike for the last nine months, Zapcic said.

Medieval Times did not respond to a request for comment.

Buena Park Medieval Times workers voted to unionize last November, citing low wages and a desire to improve working conditions, including better treatment of animals involved in the show. It is the second castle in the dinner-theater chain to unionize.

Three months later, workers went on strike after wage negotiations were unsuccessful, and the union filed unfair labor practice charges against the company. During the strike, Medieval Times brought in performers from other locations throughout the country to keep the shows going, Zapcic said.

Medieval Times is not reinstating three workers for “misconduct while on strike,” the union said, including one of the strike captains who plays a knight in the show. The Medieval Times union said in a statement that it will pursue “appropriate legal avenues” to get the workers reinstated.

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