Belabored: Strippers Seek Justice at Work, with Velveeta

Belabored: Strippers Seek Justice at Work, with Velveeta

A group of strippers at the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood hopes to break new ground in organizing their field nationwide as part of the Actors’ Equity Association.

Velveeta wears a t-shirt calling for unionization at a at a rally in support of workers at the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar on August 19, 2022. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

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Sometimes the hardest jobs are the ones that require you to look like you’re always having a great time. For strippers, that can mean dancing and performing through annoying, uncomfortable, and sometimes outrageous circumstances. A group of strippers at Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood has decided to stand up for their rights at work and filed for a union election. Though they are not the first strippers to unionize, the Star Garden workers hope to break new ground in organizing their field nationwide as part of the Actors’ Equity Association. They’re also campaigning with Strippers United, which is pushing for fair, decent work for strippers of all backgrounds and shining a spotlight on systemic labor issues in an industry that is often overlooked. We speak with Velveeta, a Strippers United activist, organizer with Actors’ Equity, and dancer at the Star Garden, about the movement to turn strip clubs into union shops.

In other news, we bring you updates on workers on strike at Britain’s largest port, Chipotle’s first union store in Michigan with Samantha Smith, a Google worker’s protest of the company’s contract with the Israeli military, and the Amazon workers worried about overheating in the wake of a coworker’s death. With recommended reading on journalists on strike and the dysfunction of the disability benefits system.

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Polly Smythe, Port Workers in Felixstowe Are Striking at the Heart of the UK’s Supply Chains, Novara Media 

Will Dunn, The government ignores the Felixstowe port strike at its peril, New Statesman 

Beth Timmins, Royal Mail and BT strikes see 150,000 workers walk out, BBC News 

Nico Grant, Google Employee Who Played Key Role in Protest of Contract With Israel Quits, New York Times 

Ariel Koren, Google’s Complicity in Israeli Apartheid: How Google Weaponizes “Diversity” to Silence Palestinians and Palestinian Human Rights Supporters, Medium

Nick Visser, Workers At Michigan Chipotle Vote To Unionize In Win For Fast Food Employees, HuffPost 

 Michigan Chipotle Location Becomes the Chain’s First to Unionize, Eater

Michelle Chen, Chipotle Workers Protest “Black Lives Matter Hypocrisy,” Dissent 

Mitchell Clark, Amazon is fixing the AC at a warehouse where a worker died on Prime DayVerge

Kate Briquelet and Josh Fiallo, Amazon Employee Who Died on Prime Day Was Hardworking DadDaily Beast


Chris Isidore, Strippers at LA strip club want to join actors’ union, CNN  

Strippers United 

Argh, I wish I’d written that!

Sarah: Conrad Landin, Let’s hope the strike by Reach journalists reshapes our media landscape for the betterGuardian 

Michelle: Mark Betancourt, Inside the Kafkaesque Process for Determining Who Gets Federal Disability Benefits, Mother Jones