North Hollywood strippers become 1st in US to unionize

Dancers at the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in Los Angeles' North Hollywood neighborhood are making history. 

After a 15-month effort to gain union recognition, the strippers will become the first in the country to unionize. 

"If you have been following our journey, then you know this has been a long, exhausting fight, which is why this victory is so sweet," said Reagan, one of the Star Garden dancers. "We put everything we have into this campaign, and we were fortunate to have the support and solidarity from the club’s patrons, our allies and friends, the labor movement and our union, Actors’ Equity Association."

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Lawyers representing the owners of the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in a settlement hearing with union attorneys withdrew all election challenges, agreed to recognize the union, and will meet with Actors’ Equity Association across the bargaining table within 30 days to negotiate a first contract. 

The club also will reopen for business and bring back dancers who were let go last year.

Strippers at North Hollywood's Star Garden Topless Dive Bar will be the first in the US to unionize.

Dancers working with lawyers and union representatives will now prepare to bargain a 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, another Star Garden dancer. "This is a big day for us and dancers everywhere."

"This is not just a win for the dancers at this club, but the entire strip club industry, said Lilith, a Star Garden dancer. "Strippers who want to unionize their workplaces and have a voice in the way their clubs are run now have a clear path forward."

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According to a statement from the AEA, this all began in March 2022 when concerns were first brought forward that the club’s security guards repeatedly failed to protect dancers from threatening and abusive behavior from patrons. Dancers were illegally fired for bringing concerns about safety and security to management, the statement read. 

With the help of Strippers United, an organization led by strippers that advocates for strippers’ rights, Star Garden’s strippers began picketing outside the strip club to protest unsafe working conditions. 

As part of its settlement with the union, the employer will work through the legal system to dismiss the bankruptcy, and the club will reopen within 30 to 60 days of the bankruptcy dismissal. 

Additionally, the agreement stipulates that no security guards who worked at Star Garden in the past can be assigned to Star Garden moving forward.

"I am looking forward to working with the club owners to rebuild Star Garden into a thriving, inclusive business with a healthy work environment that serves the community," said Velveeta, a Star Garden dancer.