Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

First union of strippers in a decade expected to form this week

First union of strippers in a decade expected to form this week

Strippers from the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood have unanimously won their union election, in a 17-0 vote, creating the first union of strippers in the United States in about a decade.

The ballots were opened at 11 am PT today by the National Labor Relations Board in Los Angeles.

The ballot reading, which was livestreamed via Zoom with no recording allowed, showed people in the room erupting in cheers and applause after results were read.

The ballots were impounded in November after the strippers voted, due to the club challenging most ballots at the time. Since announcing on Tuesday that the dancers and the club had come to an agreement, the NLRB scheduled the opening of the ballots Thursday.

A stripper by the stage name Lilith told CNN that in upcoming negotiations with the club, the strippers will be asking for all the things they initially outlined in a petition for stronger safety measures before they walked out of the club in March 2022. That includes requiring security to intervene when dancers are in an unsafe position, prohibiting customers from filming in the club, and prohibiting customers from staying in the club after hours.

"We're hopeful that we could send some shockwaves through the industry," said Velveeta, one of the strippers, who spoke to CNN on Tuesday evening. "It's been a very destructive year and a half for everyone. There's been a lot of loss on both sides and I think that this window of opportunity has opened just over the last week to reconcile and meet in the middle and envision a very thriving future for Star Garden."

Another stripper, with the stage name Reagan said on Tuesday, "This is a trust fall on both sides. So, it's us having to trust them and after the 15 months that we have been on the picket line and on social media, it's also a trust fall for them to trust us that we can work together and make the club successful and support each other and do the right thing."

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