Less than 24 hours after ride mechanics represented by the IAM were locked out at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA, a popular ride in the park broke down putting patrons at risk.
Negotiations between park management and the ride mechanics ended in part because park officials wouldn’t agree to mandatory safety training that ride mechanics have been insisting on for years. After locking out the ride machinists at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, the ROAR, a wooden coaster that packs a G-Force of 3.5, broke down the very next day, prompting emergency personnel to rescue patrons from the ride.
Tom Brandon, lead negotiator for the IAM, had warned Six Flags officials of the dangers of locking out ride mechanics just as the busy and profitable family vacation season begins.
“It was less than a year ago when the Superman ride failed, leaving patrons stranded atop the roller coaster only 30 days after its opening,” said Brandon, referring to an incident that stranded people 150 feet in the air on the park’s Superman Ultimate Flight in July 2012. “When it comes to safety, our members want a work environment that is safe for them and the patrons who spend their hard-earned dollars to come here and be entertained.”
The IAM has filed multiple Unfair Labor Practice charges alleging that the lockout is unlawful. The ride mechanics are asking people to not patronize Six Flags Discovery Kingdom until the park agrees to better working conditions and fair wages for the mechanics and to mandate safety training to protect mechanics and park-goers.