LOS ANGELES - Her stage name is "Velveeta." She's a stripper and that's the term she likes--not dancer or entertainer --but stripper.
"That's the clearest description of what we do, and we're proud of it,' said the 31-year-old.
She's proud that on Wednesday she and the other 17 strippers from Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood filed for their official National Labor Relations Board election. They want to be union members for better working conditions, improved safety, more respect and as ‘Velveeta’ puts it, "... shining light on the hypocrisy where our society upholds actors playing strippers and sex workers on stage and giving them the prestige, protections and union contracts...." and not the real strippers and sex workers themselves.
Stefanie Frye is with Actors Equity, the union that represents 51,000 theater stage workers and stage managers. To Frye, strippers are no different adding, "It's not just Star Gardens. This is really an industry-wide problem with some of these issues."
"We want to represent these workers," Frye added.
And it's not just economic issues, or how many holidays or sick days they can have, but it's also according to Frye, "their physical space safety and actually having safe and sanitary working conditions but also safety in regard to harassment and discrimination."
"We just want to have the protection of the union. We don't want to have to be in the position of having to go to the boss individually with our group concerns and risk being fired for bringing something up," Velveeta said.
That’s something that happened to her when she was fired the first time she worked at the club in 2017. But, now she doesn't feel alone.
Meanwhile, Frye says, "All live entertainment workers deserve a union and Actors Equity is here to help them achieve that."
FOX 11 reached out to club management but heard no response.