2022 – Meet North Hollywood strippers who have gone on strike for two months to demand safer jobs: ‘We don’t know how we’re being exploited again’

Star Garden strippers on the picket line.

  • Strippers have been posing at the Star Garden in North Hollywood for over nine weeks.
  • At first they left allegedly unsafe conditions and unfair dismissals.
  • Now they want to form a syndicate that will make them the only syndicated strip club in the country.

Thursday night, a crowd of witches and magicians gathered outside a dimly lit strip club in Los Angeles’ North Hollywood neighborhood and chanted, “You won’t pass!”

It was another evening for Star Garden strippers, who had been on the picket line for over nine weeks. They quit their job in March over complaints about management’s handling of safety concerns. In response, they said, the management shut her out of the club.

The sit-in events, whose themes range from the Renaissance to Occupational Safety and Health Administration abuses, encourage club workers and allies to come and demand better conditions.

It is a powerful group organizational tactic. At least five workers usually picket on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, often joined by former customers and union members from other companies.

“We just needed something to gather ourselves more and inspire us to show up,” said Lilith, one of the sit-in workers. (Insiders agreed to use the names of the actors in this story.) ÔÇťIf you like a topic, you’ll show up at the picket line, or rather, so gathering forces, keeping us on our toes, and waiting has been really helpful, it’s simple and fun when we do like That’s hard work.”

The dancers are now trying to make Star Garden the only unionized strip club in the United States with the help of strippers United, a labor rights group. They are part of the wave of regulation sweeping the nation as workers say no and resist what they see as unsafe working conditions and unfair treatment.

Lilith said the stripper “deserves the same good working conditions you’d expect from any other job.”

Demands for a secure job

Before the picket line, the club fired an organizer and stripper named Reagan, a petition the dancers say.

Reagan said after she raised safety concerns about a customer with a waiter, he mocked her, saying the customer would kill her.

“I was shivering and crying and feeling completely unheard and unsafe, unprotected and had no idea what I was going to do,” she said.

Reagan said she was fired when she attended her next work shift. Five lawsuits alleging unfair labor practices are pending against the club.

The news excited the dancers and started talking about the organization. That’s what they said then, the club fired another dancer who interfered when a client forcibly videotaped his teammate. The strippers said they were later dragged into a meeting and told not to contact security due to safety concerns.

In March, Star Garden workers signed a petition urging management to make major changes at the club. BuzzFeed News reports. Then they left the job.

Velveta, a dancer at Star Garden, who said she had sued the club over pay problems and misclassification of staff, said that when workers showed up on their next shift, they were not allowed into the club; I finally got a settlement.

Local news site KCRW reported Tuesday that Star Garden owners Stepan “Steve” and Evgenia “Jenny” Kazarian, wrote to the National Labor Relations Board, which reviewed it, that the dancers were asked to leave “after they acted aggressively towards customers and employees”.

Velveta said management tried to hold one-on-one meetings with the dancers. “We know this is an anti-union tactic,” Velveta said. “We have maintained our invitation for a group meeting to discuss safety concerns.”

Star Garden and its attorneys did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

Picket line in Star Garden.

Now they are organizing themselves into unions

If strippers succeed in forming unions, Star Garden will become the only guild club in the country. They will follow in the footsteps of the workers at Lusty Lady, a strip club in San Francisco that was the first to be unionized and run by workers as a cooperative. The New Yorker reported. It was closed in 2013 due to a rent dispute.

ÔÇťIt was an ideological battle, and unfortunately the greedy capitalists won,ÔÇŁ Reagan said. “But now it’s time for the second round.”

The unemployed are joining workers across the country in advocating for better conditions ÔÇö and organizing places like Starbucks and Amazon untouched by collective bargaining.

“I’ve always dreamed of being a union stripper and having a union job as a stripper,” Velveta said. “I’ve always thought this would be really cool, but I didn’t know if there was a chance for me to be a part of something like this.”

It has been common for such ideas for many workers. During the pandemic, Lilith realized that her earnings from unemployment were higher than the pay of her two previous jobs combined.

“It has been a huge wake-up call that employers are hitting their employees just right with the level of wages they are paying,” she said. “It’s amazing that workers stand together and show employers how important they are – and strip clubs shouldn’t be any different.”

Reagan said she sees a “crossover” from the circumstances of the past two years into the wave of nationwide regulatory efforts. When everything was shut down due to the pandemic, she and her friends started shows online. They shared the proceeds and donated them to charities and grassroots organizations. It helped her realize that she doesn’t need the traditional club structure to be successful – they can do it together. The striking workers are even experimenting with a collaborative fundraising model in which they can make decisions together and share tips on an equal footing.

“We don’t know how we can go back to being exploited in this way, completely ignoring our rights, intimidating, and not prioritizing our safety,” Reagan said. “We can’t undo it because we already know what it looks like and how we can be successful if we do it ourselves.”

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