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Stripper Unionization Effort At NoHo's Star Garden Encounters Snags

A woman who appears to be white and in her 20s or 30s rallies outside a strip club. She wears very high black platform boots, a black thong, and yellow caution tape over her breasts. It is nighttime. Behind her are other people holding signs that read "Stripper Strike!"
Strippers are joined by supporters for a rally outside the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood on August 19, 2022.
(FREDERIC J. BROWN
/
AFP via Getty Images)
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Topline:

A number of people who work as dancers at North Hollywood's Star Garden Topless Dive Bar recently participated in a union vote. The National Labor Relations Board was expected to announce the vote count Monday, but management has challenged the eligibility of most ballots.

Which union is involved: The strippers decided to unionize with Actors Equity, which represents more than 50,000 stage actors nationwide. One dancer, who goes by her stage name Reagan for safety reasons, said Actors Equity protects its members from similar issues that strippers experience on the job.

Why they're unionizing: Several of the dancers say they were fired or otherwise retaliated against by management for voicing safety concerns, including being filmed without consent.

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How they're organizing: The strippers have been picketing outside the North Hollywood bar since early March, holding themed protests in front of the club several times a week. Video from Twitter shows Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello showing up and playing music in support of the dancers.

What happened Monday: Eighteen people cast a ballot in the Star Garden union election, but management challenged the eligibility of most of them. The NLRB can decide whether to count all ballots anyway, or hold a hearing to determine eligibility. Reagan referred to the ballot challenge as a "delay tactic." We reached out to the attorney for Star Garden for comment but have not heard back yet.

Go deeper: Why These North Hollywood Dancers Are Trying To Form The Only Union For Strippers In The US