stripunion

A Regulars’ Guide to What Happens When Your Favorite Strip Club Unionizes

The naked truth about the labor movement’s next frontier

Your favorite stripper texts you to say she’s at the club, wearing the black thigh-high stockings you bought for her. She sends a selfie as proof. By the time you arrive at the club, she’s already on stage, dancing for her two-song set. Her thick hair is a deeper shade of red tonight or maybe it’s the orange-red stage lights. She spins around the pole then drops to her knees. When she catches your glance in the mirror, her eyes go soft. You walk over, toss 50 singles on the stage. After her set, she walks over and hugs you like you’re the only person in the galaxy.

This is your favorite night of the week. Your favorite stripper makes you feel alive, desired, seen. Only tonight, she’s distressed because her workplace has recently become a war zone. Last week, there were mass firings. Managers gave the best shifts to new girls who agreed to sign contracts without reading them first. Friday night, your favorite stripper was sent home because she was told there were “too many girls,” but according to her, it was because she’s a known rabble-rouser. It began with the new law that passed in California on April 30, 2018, that ruled in favor of workers in a gig economy (e.g., Uber drivers, barbers, and obviously, strippers).

Now that strippers in California are legit employees instead of independent contractors, it’s causing a corporate kerfuffle as club owners and their corporate lawyers seek new ways to make strippers pay for the federal and state taxes they’ve long evaded. Meanwhile, your favorite stripper has been quietly organizing with her fellow dancers, attempting to unionize them for basic workers’ rights.

Here are eight easy ways you can show your support her/them during this pivotal time…

1) Treat Her Like A Teamster. What your favorite stripper is crusading for is no different than your teamster father who fought hard for his benefits or your teacher mother who is on strike right now, battling the system for smaller classes and basic supplies. Viewing the situation any differently is merely reinforcing the stigmas that have dogged sex work for decades.

2) Go Public. Follow your favorite stripper and her smart friends on social media and openly, loudly support their cause. (A few good follows in that regard: @dominoinla, @naomi_amadeo, @thedancersresource, @swopla, and of course, me.) Vocally speak out against legislation like SESTA-FOSTA, which criminalizes and targets your favorite stripper, and like social posts that empower her and her workforce. These small things help to turn up the volume on her voice, which the current legislation seeks to silence.

3) Crack Open Your Rolodex. Are you a labor lawyer? Do you know someone who knows someone with contacts to a huge local union? Share your contacts that will help her cause. Then grease the wheels for your favorite stripper by calling your contacts first and making sure they will be helpful and kind to her and to her coworkers as they organize and seek union backing.

4) Remain Chill. Management might breathe down your neck or try to intimidate you or her for no reason. She’s challenging the status quo so chances are, she’s going to be targeted as a trouble-maker. Whatever their tactics, though, ignore them. She’s the priority so don’t let them get under your skin.

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#tbh archival #gold in honor of #endviolenceagainstsexworkers #dec17 Support your local Dancer’s Union! When a group is stigmatized and exploited, eventually we fuck shit up. Original ByLaws (1991). #werise #yeswedid #supportallwomen #listentosexworkers Fact #3: lots of variation exists in sex worker vulnerabilities to violence. Criminalizing, policing, population movement, mobility, work environments, economic conditions and gender inequality are correlated with increased violence against sex workers. Youth, homeless individuals, migrant sex workers, previously incarcerated sex workers and survival sex workers are especially at risk of violence. #benicetosexworkers #supportallwomen #sexworkersunite #sexworkersrightsarehumanrights

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5) Keep Your Ears Open and Mouth Shut. Resist the urge to mansplain. Chances are, she’s been meeting secretly with her coworkers and planning her revolution for months and knows her situation better than you ever could. Besides, learning how to listen is an admirable, sexy skill for any man to master.

6) Join Her on the Picket Line. And bring her and everyone else tacos when you do so. Similarly, join her mailing list and donate to her strike fund.

7) No-Show As Instructed. If she wants you to show up at the club like always, then show up. If she has left the club that week in protest, don’t be a scab. Either way, keep your appointment with her as always. It will provide her with security and structure during a stressful time.

8) Keep Those Dollar Bills Coming. Be more generous than usual. Guys think that it’s the other way around — your favorite stripper really likes you so you should pay less, but they’re wrong. The opposite is true. Your favorite stripper is very fond of you, but during her labor war, chances are, she’s babysitting for a coworker or buying them all pizza while they try to stay afloat. Her expenses haven’t changed because her workforce is in turmoil, so please be extra generous during her labor organizing efforts. After all, no matter your line of work, there are almost never enough dollar bills.