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Union supporter withdraws causing Medieval Times labor efforts to crumble

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Medieval Times labor efforts have suffered a major setback as the union backing workers at the Buena Park castle has decided to pull out its support. The American Guild of Variety Artists, which had been supporting workers organizing at both the Buena Park location and another castle in New Jersey, submitted paperwork to withdraw its backing. This decision came after actors at both locations requested the National Labor Relations Board to hold elections to remove the AGVA as their union representative. The actors received legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation, a conservative anti-union group, which celebrated the union’s withdrawal as a victory.

Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation, criticized AGVA for treating the Medieval Times castles as personal fiefdoms and praised the workers for standing up against the union. AGVA explained that many of the workers who had initially supported the union had left Medieval Times during contract negotiations, making it challenging for the union to continue its representation. The union expressed regret that it had to pull out but cited circumstances beyond their control for the decision.

The collapse of the union effort at Medieval Times comes after a wave of organizing efforts in recent years at workplaces not traditionally represented by unions. Workers at the Buena Park castle had been engaged in a nine-month strike last year and faced intimidation and retaliation from managers, leading many to leave the company and diminish support for the union.

Erin Zapcic, a queen performer at the Buena Park castle and a union steward, highlighted unlawful practices by Medieval Times, such as switching workers’ shifts and assigning them grueling tasks like shoveling horse manure. She lamented the loss of support for the union and the challenges faced by workers seeking better working conditions and wages.

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The collapse of the union at Medieval Times is a significant blow to the workers who had been fighting for their rights and a voice in the workplace. Despite their efforts to unionize and improve working conditions, the withdrawal of AGVA’s support signals the end of the labor movement at the popular themed dinner theater.

The saga at Medieval Times underscores the challenges faced by workers in industries where union representation is not common. The workers who had bravely stood up for their rights and faced backlash from management now find themselves without the support they had hoped for. The future remains uncertain for the workers at Medieval Times as they navigate a landscape without union backing.

Overall, the collapse of the labor efforts at Medieval Times serves as a cautionary tale for workers seeking to organize and advocate for better working conditions. Despite the setbacks and challenges faced, the workers at Medieval Times have shown resilience and determination in their fight for fair treatment and representation.

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Immigration in Maine Addressing Labor Shortage Could Set Trend for U.S.

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A significant labor gap in Maine’s lobster industry is being filled by immigrants, shedding light on the critical role that foreign-born workers are likely to play in the U.S. economy as the native-born population ages. Maine, known for its abundant lobster population, is grappling with an aging workforce that is increasingly unable to sustain the demands of the thriving lobster industry, valued at $1 billion.

Ben Conniff, a founder of Luke’s Lobster, underscores the importance of immigrants in sustaining the natural resources economy of the state, as many native-born workers are not inclined towards manufacturing work in food processing. Since its establishment in 2013, Luke’s Lobster has heavily relied on immigrants to staff its lobster processing plant, highlighting the vital role played by foreign-born workers in filling labor gaps.

With Maine boasting the oldest population in the U.S., with a median age of 45.1, the state offers a glimpse into the economic future of America, where immigrants are poised to be a crucial source of new workers and economic vitality in the coming years.

As immigration continues to be a hotly debated topic in the country, the influx of immigrants has been instrumental in boosting the American economy’s potential. The Congressional Budget Office has revised upwards its population and economic growth projections for the next decade, attributing the growth to the wave of newcomers entering the workforce.

Maine’s initiatives to attract and integrate immigrants into the workforce, such as the creation of an Office of New Americans, reflect the state’s proactive approach towards addressing labor shortages. Private companies like Luke’s Lobster have also taken steps to diversify and supplement the aging lobster fishing industry by training immigrants and minorities in lobster fishing and licensing processes.

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Chadai Gatembo, an 18-year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo, exemplifies the success story of immigrants finding opportunities in Maine. Despite facing challenges on his journey to the U.S., Gatembo is now on the path to becoming a full-fledged lobsterman, showcasing the potential for immigrants to thrive in new industries.

The influx of immigrants is not without its challenges, with issues of work authorization and economic stability confronting many newcomers. Adriana Hernandez, a mother of four from Venezuela, highlights the economic hardship faced by immigrants awaiting work permits, underscoring the barriers faced by unauthorized workers in integrating into the labor market.

Despite these challenges, the overall impact of immigration on the U.S. economy is significant. Immigrants have helped to bolster job growth, insulate the economy against downturns, and contribute to a more diverse and innovative workforce. Economists predict that immigration will play a crucial role in addressing labor shortages and demographic shifts as the native-born population ages.

The entrepreneurial spirit of immigrants like Chenda Chamreoun, who has risen from lobster cleaning to a quality assurance supervisor and now aims to start her own catering business, showcases the economic potential of foreign-born workers. Immigrants tend to be more entrepreneurial, adding to the innovation and productivity of the American economy.

J. Edward Moreno contributed reporting from New York, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs from Washington.

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