California Strippers To Unionize for Safety & Better Working Conditions

Women who strip at a North Hollywood (California) club called the Star Garden will be joining the century-old Actors’ Equity Association, a union of actors and stage managers. Club management initially fought against unionization but after pickets and months of negotiations, they withdrew their objections.

The dancers got the idea to organize as a way to address and improve their working conditions. The ladies were often concerned about their personal safety and were subject to unruly customers who wanted to take special liberties. A poorly managed or unsafe stage environment was another frequent complaint. Exploitation and physical hazards are endemic to the industry as is sexual harassment by inebriated customers. The National Labor Relations Board has been on hand throughout the process and will be monitoring the collective bargaining effort. 

It’s been more than 15 years since the last group of dancers formed a union. After the death of George Floyd, the historic racial discrimination that categorized the industry rose to the surface. Sex industry workers who were also women of color felt empowered to create change. Dancers have long fought for safety measures including panic buttons and regulations for exotic massages. Because much of the business is conducted in cash, dancers were often concerned about being mugged or followed when they left the workplace. 


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