Last Friday, Universal Studios turned back its fifth union drive this decade, when park performers voted 129 to 97 to reject representation by the Actors Equity Association. Union organizers had thought they had a good shot: 75 percent of the actors, singers, dancers and stunt people signed authorization cards asking for the election. But relentless pressure from company management soured the drive. The workers' issues were not about pay or benefits, but instead more intangible things like respect and healthy working conditions. Fliers emphasized that all Actors Equity players get costumes with shoes that are used by one actor only.
"Hopefully promises made by management at Universal will come true, but history at Universal has not proven that," Actors Equity business agent Ron Bush said in a statement. "If not, `workers` unfortunately will learn a very hard lesson and have an even harder time righting the wrongs, including improving the working conditions at Universal Studios Escape that they have been so concerned with."