Strippers at North Hollywood club set to form union after 15-month fight staff KABC logo
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Strippers at North Hollywood club set to form union after long fight
A North Hollywood strip club is set to become the only such venue in the country to employ unionized dancers.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Strippers at a North Hollywood club are making history.

They're set to become the country's only unionized strippers.

When the votes are counted, dancers at Star Garden Topless Dive Bar are expected to agree to be represented by Actors' Equity Association.

The campaign to unionize has been more than a year in the making, with dancers wanting more safety measures, protections against harassment and a cleaner workplace.

"It feels very surreal. It feels like the most important work I've ever done," said Reagan, a stripper at the bar.

Velveeta, another stripper at the bar, said it was important to have management take inappropriate touching more seriously.

"Not respecting our boundaries on inappropriate touching, and touching on stage and in the lap dance area that we didn't approve of and it was uncomfortable," she said.

Club owners resisted the effort, and even fired some strippers for their efforts, but recently withdrew their challenges and reached a resolution with Strippers United Inc.

The club owners released a statement that read in part: "Star Garden decided to settle, as it has always been a fair and equal opportunity employer, that respects the rights of its employees. As part of the settlement, Star Garden withdraws its election challenges and a ballot count will move forward."

The club had also entered bankruptcy proceedings as it fought against unionization, but says it will now move to dismiss the bankruptcy case.

Once the vote is finalized, club owners will meet with the union to negotiate a first contract.

"I'm excited that all of my beautiful coworkers will finally have a seat at the table and a voice to discuss safety and other issues," said Sinder, a Star Garden dancer, in a statement released by Actors' Equity Association. "This is a big day for us and dancers everywhere."

The club will be the first in the country to have unionized dancers since the Lusty Lady in San Francisco closed in 2013.