The Blue Man Group seems singularly out of place in federal court. Imagine them: mute, blue, and frenetically playing the Dumpstulums (overturned dumpsters) for a panel of profoundly underwhelmed federal appellate judges.
That never happened. But the group was mired in a labor dispute in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit until today.
When the Blue Man Group moved its Las Vegas show from the Luxor Hotel to the Venetian Hotel in 2005, the group’s stagehands organized with a local union. After the National Labor Relations Board certified the election, the stagehands tried to bargain for a new contract, but Blue Man's management refused to negotiate, claiming the union unit was illegitimate because it left out a handful of musical technicians. The NLRB sided with the union and ordered the group to play ball. The Blue Man Group appealed.
Today, the D.C. Circuit backed the NLRB, ruling that the board applied the correct legal standard to determine whether the bargaining unit was appropriate. The court also granted the NLRB’s cross application for enforcement, meaning that the Blue Man Group will be sitting at the negotiating table very soon. Click here for the ruling.
Judge Douglas Ginsburg, who was joined by Judges Janice Rogers Brown and Thomas Griffith, ended the opinion with an acid footnote: “[The petitioner’s] other arguments are sufficiently lacking in merit as not to warrant consideration in a published opinion. Also, we deny [the petitioner’s] motion that the court ‘take judicial notice of several artistic reviews of the Blue Man Group show that aptly describe the unique and highly unusual experience of attending a Blue Man Group performance.’”