Gold's Gym Trainers in Los Angeles Vote Down Union

A vote that would have established the first labor union of fitness industry trainers in Los Angeles was unsuccessful late last month, according to documents Club Industry obtained from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The Fitness Alliance, comprised of 18 personal trainers from Gold's Gym in Downtown Los Angeles, sought to establish a union after alleging they were sexually harassed, not fully paid and overwhelmed from "excessive" sales pressure, according to an L.A. Biz report. Earlier in the year, the trainers partnered with North American labor union Workers United.

The result of the March 28 vote was six votes for the union and seven against, according to an official tally of ballots from the NLRB. Of the 18 eligible voters, 13 participated.

The certification of results from the NLRB, dated April 5, states: “The Tally of Ballots shows that a collective-bargaining representative has not been selected. No timely objections have been filed.”

Gold’s Gym International, the Downtown Los Angeles club and the Gold's Gym Franchisee Association were all contacted in the last month regarding this story and did not respond.

Johnny Love, a member of the Fitness Alliance, told L.A. Biz last month that the Gold’s trainers are earning minimum wage and struggling to benefit from a “confusing” commission system.

“The fitness industry is rife with exploitation and abuse,” Love told L.A. Biz. “It’s time for us to have a voice at work.”

Rick Caro, president of consulting firm Management Vision, said no previous attempt to unionize within the fitness industry has succeeded for various reasons.

“[Unionized] individuals soon found a misfit with the type of union, the way they were going to be a minor part of a national organization and the disconnect between early wishes and realistic expectations,” Caro told Club Industry. “In some cases, the NLRB found problems with the union's representations and actions.

“The conclusion historically was to spend more face time sharing personnel issues with club management directly and to cease any pursuit of any union efforts,” he said.