Employer challenges all but one ballot, final results not to be announced until after a hearing is scheduled.
Union is confident in victory.
Employees at the North Hollywood Strip Club Are Seeking to Become the Only Strippers in the United States to be Represented by a Union
Los Angeles – Dancers employed at the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood, who filed a petition for a union recognition election had their Election Day today, but the final result was delayed when the employer challenged all but one of the mail ballots. The union is confident that it has overwhelming support from those who voted. The Star Garden dancers are seeking to become the only unionized strippers in the United States.
Actors’ Equity Association, the national union for 51,000 actors and stage managers in live entertainment, filed the petition in August on behalf of the Star Garden dancers. The strip club has claimed that the club’s dancers aren’t employees of the club, but rather, in their words, “lessees.”
“Despite the delay tactics from the employer, we remain confident that these workers will be declared winners in their election,” said Actors’ Equity Association President Kate Shindle. “The Star Garden dancers have every right to be represented by a union; The National Labor Relations Board doesn’t hold elections for independent contractors or ‘lessees.’ Equity will respectfully reiterate our position in another NLRB hearing in order to have the challenges dismissed.”
Thirty Star Garden workers were eligible to vote. Eighteen ballots were received. One was invalidated by the labor board, and 16 of the 17 remaining ballots were challenged by lawyers representing Star Garden’s owners. The NLRB conducted the vote count by Zoom.
Several of the Star Garden strippers watching the proceeding on a screen at Equity’s North Hollywood office chanted in unison “strippers united will never be divided” when they learned of the delayed vote count.
“I applaud these workers for standing up for their rights, for joining together to improve their lives and working conditions and for walking a picket line every weekend for eight months in front of the strip club,” said Shindle. “They deserve a fair contract, and Equity is going to help get them one.”
This is the first time Equity, a union with more than a century of history, has organized strippers.
NOTE TO REPORTERS: Please find suggestions on appropriate terminology for referring to Star Garden dancers and other strippers here: https://cdn.actorsequity.org/docs/PressTipsStarGarden.pdf