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Strippers at LA club move to unionize

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Dancers at a Los Angeles-based adult club have moved to form a labor union with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). 

In a news release on Wednesday, the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) said that a majority of dancers at North Hollywood’s Star Garden Topless Dive Bar filed a petition to have a union recognition election with the NLRB. 

AEA will help with the dancers union bargaining unit, as it already represents more than 51,000 professional actors and stage managers employed in live theater. 

If the dancers win their election, they will be the only strippers in the U.S. to be represented by a union. 

“Strippers are live entertainers, and while some aspects of their job are unique, they have much in common with other Equity members who dance for a living,” AEA President Kate Shindle said in a statement, adding that Star Garden Topless Dive Bar dancers reported issues such as wage theft, health and safety violations, insufficient health benefits, sexual harassment and discrimination and unjust firings. 

“Equity is well situated to advocate for these workers, and we are excited to welcome them into the labor movement at this extraordinary time,” Shindle said in a statement. “We applaud their efforts to seize their collective power and unionize, like so many others across the country who are fed up with toxic workplaces. When they approached us for support, we did what unions should do: we said yes.”

The dancers’ move to form a union started in March after the club’s security guards failed to protect dancers from threatening and abusive behavior from customers, leading them to form a demonstration outside the strip club to protest unsafe working conditions. 

Star Garden Topless Dive Bar’s dancers’ union drive follows San Francisco, Calif.-based Lusty Lady forming their own labor union in 1996, reported. The Lusty Lady’s union, the Exotic Dancers union, was affiliated with the Service Employees International Union and lasted until the club’s closure in 2013. 

“We like what we do,” Star Garden dancer Velveeta said in a statement. “We would like our jobs even more if we had basic worker protections. We’re like so many other workers who have learned that it’s not a choice between suffering abuse or quitting. With a union, together, we can make needed improvements to our workplace.”

The Hill has reached out to Strippers United for comment and more information.

Tags Actors Equity Association California Kate Shindle labor unions Labor unions in the United States Los Angeles National Labor Relations Board Star Garden Topless Dive Bar Strip Clubs unionization

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