United States: Los Angeles strippers push for the right to unionize

According to her, strippers suffer from irregularities in the payment of their income, in addition to seeing their health and safety sometimes undermined.

Strippers at a Los Angeles club on Wednesday launched a process to unionize, the latest trades to take part in a surge in unionism in the United States.

Dancers from the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar filed a motion to, ultimatelyto be represented by a union of entertainment professionals, called Actors’ Equity, a first.

We love what we dosaid Velveeta, one of the strippers, in a statement to Actors’ Equity. “We would appreciate our work even more if we benefit from a minimum social protection“.

Irregularities in the payment of their income

The union already represents 51,000 artists and performing professionals in the United States, many of them in the Los Angeles, California area.

If certain aspects of the stripper profession are particular, “they share a lot with the other members of Equity who make dance their profession“, said in the press release Kate Shindle, the president of the union.

According to her, strippers suffer from irregularities in the payment of their income, in addition to seeing their health and safety sometimes undermined.

They want health insurance and other rights, such as workers’ compensation. They need protection against sexual harassment, discrimination and unfair dismissaladded Kate Shindle.

They filed a request on Wednesday with the federal agency responsible for labor law (NRLB), which must now organize a vote for the thirty dancers of the club concerned.

A picket in front of their club

If a majority emerges, Equity may undertake, on behalf of the dancers, negotiations on their employment contract with the management of the Star Garden.

In the meantime, the strippers plan to organize a picket in front of the bar, located in North Hollywood, to warn customers of their approach. Contacted by telephone, the club did not respond to requests from AFP.

A union, named Exotic Dancers Union, was created in 1996 in a strip club in San Francisco, which closed in 2013. The Actors’ Equity union has never had any strippers in its ranks.

Unionism is on the rise in the United States, helped by symbolic victories in Starkbucks coffee shops and in an Amazon warehouse.

The number of applications for the creation of a union jumped by 56% over the period October 2021-June 2022 compared to the previous year, according to figures from the federal agency NRLB.

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