Union workers threaten Six Flags strike

Elementary school students keep their eyes on a rubber chicken held up by a court jester during the fourth grade Medieval Times and Renaissance Faire at Trinity Classical Academy on Friday, March 31, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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By Gina Ender

Many part-time and seasonal Six Flags Magic Mountain employees are threatening to strike unless they receive health care benefits and paid time off, a representative of the International Association Of Machinists And Aerospace Workers said Thursday.

There are 170 employees with the union who work for the company, according to Directing Business Representative Sal Vasquez, and all of them voted “overwhelmingly” to strike at the end of the month unless they are granted health care and paid time off for bereavement and jury duty.

The employees’ contracts expire at the end of the month and they plan to proceed with their strike if Six Flags “refuses to bargain,” Vasquez said.

“It looks like there might not be movement,” the directing business representative said. “We’ll have no choice but to strike.”

The union workers, who include stage and maintenance crews, painters and mechanics, would also like higher wages, but the benefits are their top priority, Vasquez said.

“These are the guys who don’t have anything,” he said. “Respect and dignity on the job, that’s priceless.”

The union members feel Six Flags has an “anti-union” sentiment and is “dismissing” their call for benefits, according to Vasquez.

“Everyone said they were not satisfied with the company’s final offer (for the contracts),” Vasquez said. “We want Six Flags to come to the table and bargain a fair contract for all its employees.”

The park plans to continue operating as normal and the company aims to reconcile any differences with the union, according to Six Flags Magic Mountain Communications Manager Sue Carpenter.

“Six Flags Magic Mountain has always had a very positive relationship with the local union and we are continuing to negotiate in good faith,” Carpenter said. “Our goal is to avoid a work stoppage and to ensure no interruption in park operations. We always want our guests to have an amazing experience and so the park will be open, maintaining our high guest service standards.”

Clarification: Six Flags Magic Mountain offers a full benefits package, including health care and paid time off for bereavement and jury duty, to all of its full-time employees whether or not they are members of a union. Part-time employees are eligible for some benefits depending on the number of hours they work. 

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