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View Full Version : Is there an advocacy group? Because there should be one.



kitkat824
05-10-2006, 11:06 PM
hey girls,

is there an organization that monitors adult entertainment clubs? i mean, like a nonprofit, or a strippers' union or something?

ive only visited the site a couple times, but i keep getting the feeling that dancers in particular face unfair situations without someone waiting in the wings to protect them....

too often, postings in this thread describe the following things:
1. confusion about unfair custies' behavior
2. custies not behaving respectfully, period
3. people not appearing to know the laws that protect them
4. people not knowing what to do/where to go/whom to go to when things go bad with a custie (ie harrassment in the club, unwanted touching, lack of effective and protective oversight, stalking)
5. "office politicking" ---- rivalries and poor management impacting people's ability to earn a living by following the rules they thought were clear

reading all these posts, i get the feeling that there needs to be some kind of organization that cultivates relationships with club owners, management, and dancers in the interest of maintaining the integrity of the industry and assisting dancers, especially, who find themselves in vulnerable situations.

some of the posts ive read are written by girls who could REALLY use some legal advocacy. (seriously? a customer bit someone on the ear? that is vile and needs to be dealt with in a productive way! ie one where justice is served and the entertainer is compensated for the crappiness of that situation. if that was you, seriously message me and i will help you in any way that i can).

some situations --for example, some of the staff infighting described on posts throughout the 'general' forum---are just so beyond mediation that the individual posting needs justice and compensation for the wrongs done to her by a custy, a co-worker, or the management.

forgive me a mild rant, but it's just not fair the way some posters have been treated. moreover, it's not fair that they fear for their jobs, their livelihood, their dependents, their ambitions and how they might be jeopardized if they seek redress of the situation. ive read too many posts in which people explain ludicrous reasons they've been fired or oppressed by custies and even their own management and housemoms. while it appears these instances are in the minority of the experiences described by posters in this forum overall, there is no reason that *any* dancer should feel so threatened and worried about job loss that she cannot stand up for her right to a safe and enjoyable work environment.

in my opinion, there should be, if there isn't already, an organization with the power generated by having relationships with people in the industry standing guard to protect people in vulnerable situations.

i would love to hear some feedback from you all.. anyway, my question is basically: is there an organization that handles advocacy/mediation/assistance for dancers in general and specifically dancers in vulnerable situations?

my apologies for the length of the post/rant.


thanks guys.

Bella21
05-10-2006, 11:17 PM
I believe there IS a stripper union, but I don't know much about it.

kitkat824
05-10-2006, 11:23 PM
i just googled for it but all i can find is a band called 'stripper's union' and a xanga blog ring with the same name.

kitkat824
05-10-2006, 11:36 PM
ok. i did a little more googling and took a look at the following sites:

sex workers' international media watch
gstringsforever.com
$pread

based on what ive seen in the searches, it appears there is an actual union in australia.

a couple notes:

it's great that there are these organizations committed to getting the word out about industry workers' rights... but i dont think that is anywhere *near* enough.

please, please object if you think i am headed in the wrong direction, but i think that there need to be, at the very minimum:

1. web resources listing specific local laws pertaining to ALL things that could POSSIBLY affect employees who work at adult entertainment clubs. there are laws in place re: harrassment, etc, that are required to be posted in all company buildings, but this is a TOTALLY different ballgame and obviously things are trickier at clubs, especially if you're a dancer.

2. lines of communication between and among people in the industry in the same way that there are lines of communication between and among people in other industries. this could take the form of a union like we see among electrical workers, or federal and state employees, for example, or it could take the form of a nonprofit that sort of behaves like a union.

3. a mechanism for reporting instances like custie assault and management mistreatment without victims' needing to worry about repercussions. people should not fear for their jobs and tolerate this behavior. it is unacceptable that this goes on and people turn a blind eye to it---no one deserves that.

4. counseling for dancers who experience bad situations in number 3. i used to work in the field of domestic violence. people react to bad situations in all kinds of ways and need to talk about it in a safe, confidential way. whether they want to take legal action or just talk about it or do something in between those things should be possible and organized by knowledgeable people who are on their side.

what do you think?

Bella21
05-10-2006, 11:36 PM
Haha, nice name for a band. *insert eyeroll here* I'm sure someone else will know more about it :)

greenidlady1
05-11-2006, 12:11 AM
I would be willing to pay to join some sort of stripper union. I don't the government should have to pay for it because not all dancers pay taxes.

Bella21
05-11-2006, 12:41 AM
I would too. MANY would, and most here would... But who knows how to start one?

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 12:48 AM
i do. i have a ton of nonprofit management experience. i am crazy busy with school right now, but i will be in new york in june. if the desire is there, i will step up.

i think this is a serious issue, but ill let the regular posters and other people who reply speak to that.

Bella21
05-11-2006, 12:59 AM
Well, then count me in

Solitaire
05-11-2006, 06:39 AM
Hi everyone,

The International Union Of Sex Workers (, based in London, has set up an Adult Entertainment branch for dancers recognised by the GMB (Britain's biggest general trade union, so it has some clout and influence).

A problem it's had with recruitment is most dancers don't want to rock the boat, get a reputation as a potential trouble-maker and sacked from their clubs. The clubs bosses themselves need to be involved and supportive of the union - and of course they're happy raking their cash in and treating girls like crap, why should they change they think? Also so many girls here in London are only here for a year or two on student visas and just care about making some money to send home, not about longer-term workers' rights.

At the moment however the Scottish Executive in considering banning lapdancing, private booths, enforcing a one-metre rule from performer to any other person, letting local councils decide whether full nudity is ok, etc. This is all based on a 'report' which only interviewed six dancers. Do a search on Google.com on 'scottish lap dancing ban news' for all the info - it's literally all happening right now.

The IUSW/GMB is fighting for dancers' rights to be heard on this, and now loads of dancers and clubs in Scotland are interested in being part of the union and having a bigger voice. Union members get free legal advice, discounted insurance, accountancy services and all sorts.

I think something like this is definitely needed. Too many of us are treated like crap and just told to leave if we stand up for ourselves.

Solitaire x
(in London)

Jo Weldon
05-11-2006, 08:40 AM
Here are two articles by the same writer about the unionization of the Lusty Lady:
http://www.sexuality.org/authors/steinberg/cn58.html
http://www.cleansheets.com/articles/steinberg_09.17.03.shtml

The Exotic Dancer's Alliance:
http://www.eda-sf.org/

I'm the webmaster of both swimw.org and gstringsforever.com; I don't know if you read the whole article about stripper unions, but it's about some of the issues I've heard over the past 25 years when the issues of unions come up:
http://www.gstringsforever.com/stripperunion.html

Try googling "exotic dancers" and "adult entertainers" in addition to "strippers."

Jo Weldon
05-11-2006, 08:48 AM
This is something that I thought about a lot when I was an active activist. (Now I am doing other things, but at one time I was really sacrificing in other areas of my life to try to be a good activist.) As a dancer, you start out trying to negotiate with management, but when legislators try to close down the clubs, you can end up forming an alliance WITH management because you're so busy fighting to keep your job that you don't have as much of an opportunity to fight to defend your rights IN that job. In this way the prejudices of some societies against adult entertainment enforce the idea that dancing is not a legitimate job.


Hi everyone,

The International Union Of Sex Workers (www.iusw.org.uk) (http://www.iusw.org.uk%29), based in London, has set up an Adult Entertainment branch for dancers recognised by the GMB (Britain's biggest general trade union, so it has some clout and influence).

...

At the moment however the Scottish Executive in considering banning lapdancing, private booths, enforcing a one-metre rule from performer to any other person, letting local councils decide whether full nudity is ok, etc. This is all based on a 'report' which only interviewed six dancers. Do a search on Google.com on 'scottish lap dancing ban news' for all the info - it's literally all happening right now.
...

Solitaire x
(in London)

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 03:05 PM
Oh my god! They really accomplished a LOT in California!

I will cut and paste their accomplishments here... It's too bad they aren't really in operation anymore.

July 2001


EDA receives grant award from Unitarian Universalist Funding Program.

June 2001


St. James Infirmary celebrated our 2 year anniversary.

May 2001


Participated in San Francisco Sex Worker Film Festival.

April 2001


Participated in meeting with San Francisco Department of Public Health Environmental Health and STD Prevention regarding outreach to adult entertainment theaters.

February 2001


Participated in panel discussion at screening of "Live Nude Girls UNITE!" at the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law.

January 2001


A.B. 2509 becomes effective. Owners who require the payment of "stage fees," "commissions," or "quotas" from any portion of dancers' tips will be in violation of California State labor laws.

October 2000


Participated in panel presentation on sex industry workers at Institute for Community Health Outreach.

October 2000


Participated in panel discussion during the screening of "Live Nude Girls UNITE!" at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.

September 2000


California Governor Gray Davis signs Assembly Bill 2509 (Authored by Assemblyman Steinberg), which improves enforcement and administrative procedures of wage and hour laws before the Labor Commissioner and the courts, and increases civil penalties and damages for violations. A.B. 2509 classifies exotic dancers as employees, and entitles them to keep their cash gratuities ("tips) from patrons.

April 2000


Testified in support of AB 2509 amending State labor codes to prohibit management from receiving any portion of exotic dancer's cash gratuities in front of the State Assembly Labor Committee. (Now THIS is something worth organizing around!)

February 2000


Participated in meeting with Chief of Staff, Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health regarding improving current working conditions for exotic dancers.

February 2000


Conducted presentation for CORO (A Foundation for leadership) class members.

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 03:07 PM
It is SO cool that they made stage fees illegal.

Tara Nicole
05-11-2006, 03:44 PM
I wonder why this was buried down here in Members? This thread should be in Stripping General.

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 04:06 PM
not sure.

i would really like to organize for this if you guys are interested. it's not fair for people to profit off treating people like crap. ive done a little research and there are a bunch of foundations that might be interested in funding an organization like this, like the levi strauss foundation, the third wave foundation, the unitarian universalist foundations and some others.

DNA
05-11-2006, 04:24 PM
Try http://exoticdancerslib.com/

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 04:33 PM
very interesting.

i have a question... do people think stage fees are fair?

its really cool they made them illegal in CA.

DNA
05-11-2006, 04:42 PM
What people think in this case is irrelvant. It's the law and if you look under laws you should know those are IRS federal laws.

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 04:53 PM
i dont quite understand what you're saying... what do you mean? are stage fees illegal?

DNA
05-11-2006, 05:27 PM
yes read laws 2 know.

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 05:47 PM
where is this information available? you mentioned the irs--how were these laws codified? are they state level or federal?

DNA
05-11-2006, 06:06 PM
http://www.exoticdancerslib.com/phpBB-2/phpBB2/index.php?sid=cc966fff1e9f56bbdbd957700c1e27d1

http://www.exoticdancerslib.com/phpBB-2/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=48&sid=65a10bf4247c0270c21984494eeec2d8

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 08:34 PM
Awesome. Thanks; however, I still have questions. In the Laws 2 know thread, it states the following:

LEGAL DEFINITIONS:

EMPLOYEE:
where a person performing work for another is subject to the orders, control,
& direction of such other person (employer). [29 Cal Jur 3d (Rev)]


INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR:
Any person who renders service for a specified result, under the control of
his principal as to the result of her work only and not as to the means by
which such result is accomplished. [29 Cal Jur 3d (Rev)]

Are these California state laws or Federal laws, because it says "Cal" in there and it may not actually apply to, say, strippers in NYC.

Anyone know?

DNA
05-11-2006, 08:44 PM
THE IRS & CALIFORNIA LAWS DETERMINE IF A WORKER IS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR,
NOT WRITTEN AGREEMENTS.

IRS = Federal. Meaning all states.:)


Awesome. Thanks; however, I still have questions. In the Laws 2 know thread, it states the following:

LEGAL DEFINITIONS:

EMPLOYEE:
where a person performing work for another is subject to the orders, control,
& direction of such other person (employer). [29 Cal Jur 3d (Rev)]


INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR:
Any person who renders service for a specified result, under the control of
his principal as to the result of her work only and not as to the means by
which such result is accomplished. [29 Cal Jur 3d (Rev)]

Are these California state laws or Federal laws, because it says "Cal" in there and it may not actually apply to, say, strippers in NYC.

Anyone know?

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 08:57 PM
Oooooooh. So how come these clubs get away with charging stage fees and requiring specific tipouts???

DNA
05-11-2006, 09:31 PM
America is corrupt beyound your wildest imaginations.

Deogol
05-11-2006, 09:45 PM
Oooooooh. So how come these clubs get away with charging stage fees and requiring specific tipouts???

Because the idea is you are an act.

When an act comes to a stadium, do they own the stadium? Or does the promoter rent the stadium to put the act on.

Coming from the professional "legit" theatre biz, I can say they are using some parallels to other entertainment business customs.

Just as a ballet group comes up to form a "company" - so is a dancer her own "company."

The ballet group decides to go out on tour - so they rent a stage to perform on. So does the dancer rent a stage to perform on.

Sometimes, like with music groups - you rent the sound and lighting from a sound and lighting company. In the case of exotic dancers - these items come with the stage.

So like a play or music group or dancer group, you're stage fees are LIKE a rental agreement for:

-- Sound Amplification
-- Lighting
-- Stage Construction
-- Dressing Room
-- Security
-- Building/Parking lot for patrons
-- Meeting Building Code Requirements
-- Meeting "other" code requirements (read that as city red tape for adult ent.)


Stage fees are probably the most legit thing in the business. I have seen stage rentals at $3,000 per night for 700 people (about 4 bucks per person) for "legitimate" theater acts. In a high volume (400 or more people in per night) club $300 bucks doesn't seem so bad eh?

It is required tipping of bouncers, DJ, house mom, etc. that have no legitimacy.

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 09:53 PM
Well one logical extension of your argument is that an officeworker should pay to use their desk and chair.

With "stage fees", it's like clubs get to have their cake and eat it too.

Deogol
05-11-2006, 10:08 PM
Well one logical extension of your argument is that an officeworker should pay to use their desk and chair.

With "stage fees", it's like clubs get to have their cake and eat it too.

It would seem so, but it is not.

A logical extension would be that the bouncer has to pay to work there. But the bouncer is not the act and is an employee of the stage company (aka the strip club.)

No stage fee means the dancer is an employee (with all the pluses and minuses of that.) An employee would mean their earnings are not based on "ticket sales" but upon what the manager deems an offered amount.

A problem is, the club tends to treat dancers as employees when really they are suppose to be third parties.

The reality of it is, the club is working for YOU because YOU paid the club for thier amenities via your stage fee. This has been forgotten in many ways and is a more fair manner of filing grievances.

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 10:10 PM
Hm, well, the law states differently.

kitkat824
05-11-2006, 10:12 PM
I think the way you've framed it is a clear illustration of how clubs unfairly take advantage of people in a vulnerable profession.

Stage fees are unfair and not in accordance with IRS codes and therefore should be eliminated.

DNA
05-11-2006, 10:25 PM
This is a pro-stage fee group.
Well one logical extension of your argument is that an officeworker should pay to use their desk and chair.

With "stage fees", it's like clubs get to have their cake and eat it too.

Deogol
05-11-2006, 10:39 PM
I think the way you've framed it is a clear illustration of how clubs unfairly take advantage of people in a vulnerable profession.

They are taking advantage of the people who don't realize the relationship the club is entering into with stage fees.

If one wants to get in their faces, one needs to ask "what am I buying with this stage fee?"



Stage fees are unfair and not in accordance with IRS codes and therefore should be eliminated.


Then you would be an employee - exactly what those states are hoping to make dancers so 1) they won't want to dance and 2) they can easier track taxes owed to them.

How can you justify earning money as a seperate legal entity (aka not an employee) from the club without an agreement and stage fee?

If you are a seperate legal entity from the club, you need to pay them to use their property and services.

If you are not paying them to use that property and services, then you are not a seperate legal entity - you are an employee.

The afore mentioned agreement regarding stage rental would make the dancer legally a seperate entity, especially with a corporate to corporate agreement (see Dollar Den) from the club according to Federal IRS rules.

To prove it, you will need to keep business books under sole proprieter or corporation GAP principles (not that hard really) and pay quarterly taxes, etc. like a business does.

You would need to be an employee of that corporation. (Though some try to say they are a stock holder and pay themselves by dividends!)

Otherwise, it is perfectly OK to be an employee - where you don't pay a stage fee, but you do get paid a commission based on dances. This means 1) You have to be there at the times appointed like an employee 2) They have to have someone hovering over you counting dances for proper accounting 3) A lot of other bad mojo of working as an employee.

Tara Nicole
05-12-2006, 12:52 AM
Problem is that most clubs treat dancers as an employee rather than a separate legal entity.

babydolly
05-13-2006, 05:13 AM
This is the link for the International Union Of Sex Workers (GMB)

<a href="http://www.iusw.org/</a>

Sex Worker Advocate
05-31-2007, 01:30 PM
There are various advocacy groups. Here are some links:
Sex Workers Outreach Project: www.swop-usa.org
Erotic Service Providers Union: www. espu-ca.org
Desiree Alliance: www.desireealliance.org
Bay Area Sex Worker Advocacy Network: www.bayswan.org

Melonie
06-02-2007, 03:52 AM
Otherwise, it is perfectly OK to be an employee - where you don't pay a stage fee, but you do get paid a commission based on dances. This means 1) You have to be there at the times appointed like an employee 2) They have to have someone hovering over you counting dances for proper accounting 3) A lot of other bad mojo of working as an employee.


From a technical standpoint, when a dancer agrees to work as an employee she gives up any rights to her work product. Legally this means that the club owns her lap dances, that the club is entitled to 100&#37; of the money charged to customers for lap dances, and that the dancer is only entitled to an hourly paycheck no matter how many lap dances she is asked / required to perform. Typically clubowners do pay 'sales commissions' on lap dances sold by individual employee dancers i.e. 50% of the customer charge, but they are not required to do so by law.

The flip side of employee dancer status is that the 'employer' is required to provide all necessary 'tools' for her to perform her job, which technically makes the charging of stage fees and tipouts illegal.

The dark side of employee dancer status is that every single dollar the employee dancer receives is supposed to be run through the club's payroll system ... with automatic reporting to the IRS and with automatic withholding of income and other taxes. In other words, by the letter of the law it is illegal for an employee dancer to directly take money from customers (including tips) and pocket it - instead all money (including tips) should be legally turned over to the club, with the dancer eventually receiving some portion of the turned over money in her paycheck after taxes are withheld.

Also, employee dancers are covered by labor law to some degree at least. This tends to give preference to dancers with the longest work history (seniority) at particular clubs in terms of shift choice, in terms of firings / cutbacks etc. There is also ample labor law precedent for the institution of 'tip sharing', where all dancer tips received during the week are thrown into a pool, and at the end of the week that tip money is equally divided among the employee dancers paychecks.

So if your intention is to wind up with a club full of older, out of shape dancers with very little energy or incentive to hustle, then by all means go the employee route !

flickad
06-02-2007, 10:58 PM
I'm normally a big believer in unionising as a means of partially redressing the inherent employee/employer power imbalance, but believe a stripper union would be counter-productive. There's an Australian one (I think in NSW) which got a court declaration that toy shows should be paid at $2000/hour and regular shows at I think $1000/hour approximately. I'd have no objections to being paid that much, the trouble is that neither employers nor customers share my lack of objection. Hence that kind of declaration has the potential to kill the industry. Also, strippers, not being employees and also being highly paid, tend not to need the kind of protection that, say, retail workers do. There are also problems involved in actually organising contractors into a union.

flickad
06-02-2007, 10:59 PM
From a technical standpoint, when a dancer agrees to work as an employee she gives up any rights to her work product. Legally this means that the club owns her lap dances, that the club is entitled to 100&#37; of the money charged to customers for lap dances, and that the dancer is only entitled to an hourly paycheck no matter how many lap dances she is asked / required to perform. Typically clubowners do pay 'sales commissions' on lap dances sold by individual employee dancers i.e. 50% of the customer charge, but they are not required to do so by law.

The flip side of employee dancer status is that the 'employer' is required to provide all necessary 'tools' for her to perform her job, which technically makes the charging of stage fees and tipouts illegal.

The dark side of employee dancer status is that every single dollar the employee dancer receives is supposed to be run through the club's payroll system ... with automatic reporting to the IRS and with automatic withholding of income and other taxes. In other words, by the letter of the law it is illegal for an employee dancer to directly take money from customers (including tips) and pocket it - instead all money (including tips) should be legally turned over to the club, with the dancer eventually receiving some portion of the turned over money in her paycheck after taxes are withheld.

Also, employee dancers are covered by labor law to some degree at least. This tends to give preference to dancers with the longest work history (seniority) at particular clubs in terms of shift choice, in terms of firings / cutbacks etc. There is also ample labor law precedent for the institution of 'tip sharing', where all dancer tips received during the week are thrown into a pool, and at the end of the week that tip money is equally divided among the employee dancers paychecks.

So if your intention is to wind up with a club full of older, out of shape dancers with very little energy or incentive to hustle, then by all means go the employee route !

Having completed employment and labour relations law last semester, I have to second everything you just said (though I would personally support the immediate removal of tax from income, so as to avoid evasion).

Melonie
06-03-2007, 05:44 AM
'm normally a big believer in unionising as a means of partially redressing the inherent employee/employer power imbalance, but believe a stripper union would be counter-productive.

In the final analysis, dancers being able to operate as free agent 'independent contractors' provides an incentive for the 'best' dancers ... as it allows them to retain the fruits of their own labors, as it allows them to pursue the most promising markets / opportunities etc. On the other hand, employee dancers protected by employee labor laws plus union rules would provide an incentive for the 'worst' dancers ... as it would allow them to benefit on the basis of seniority despite customer preferences (can you imagine a club on friday / saturday night with no new / young dancers working), as it would allow them to benefit from the earnings potential of other dancers (hot young dancer earns $100 in tips, marginal older dancer earns $20 in tips, but both get paid $60 in shared tips) etc.

Elizabeth729
06-03-2007, 01:00 PM
Just my two cents here...

Every time you organize something you lose a little autonomy. Meaning, yes, maybe employee protections MIGHT be better for dancers but that would mean giving up something else - like power to choose when we work and the ability to so freely go from one club to another, from one state to another. While I am not in favor of high house fees, I have the right to not work at clubs that charge them with very little impact on my career. Over the years I have managed to develop long standing relationships with clubs in different cities and am therefore never out of work. If I had to behave like an employee this would be nearly impossible.

In short, I'd much rather pay house fees and have the freedoms I have now than be an employee and lose my autonomy.

And, I agree with everything Melonie has said thus far in this thread.