The strippers in Los Angeles are hot under the collar about new state laws that changed the nature of their business relationship with club owners. What was billed as a way to ensure fair pay for the dancers has wound up costing them money and done nothing to alleviate other complaints about issues they run into while working. Now they’re going on strike because they want to see some improvements and they’re getting some support from representatives of the #MeToo movement. (CBS Los Angeles)
A group of adult dancers says they aren’t getting a fair shake at Los Angeles strip clubs, and it’s in part because of a California court ruling.
The group calls themselves “Soldiers of Pole” and they’re picketing outside the Crazy Girls Club in Hollywood where they’re demanding, among other things, fair wages. They say a state court ruling changed their status from independent contractors to actual employees.
The dancers say now that clubs have to pay the women an hourly wage, management has been keeping a much larger chunk of their tips. They also claim that some clubs have been stealing their wages and charging dancers new fees ever since the new ruling, and they want it to stop.
This seems like yet another classic example of how “well” the government can do when it decides to step in and regulate how businesses operate in the private sector. We’re not talking about workplace safety regulations here or even working conditions or hours. California ended the ability of clubs to hire dancers as independent contractors.
These “Soldiers of the Pole” have been talking to everyone from labor unions to the ACLU, along with the folks from #MeToo. Under the old system, dancers might not even be paid any wages by the club. They would instead be given (or pay for) a slot in the lineup. But all the money they brought in from tips should have been going right in their pockets. (Some clubs apparently had tip-sharing policies for the bar staff.)
Now that they are minimum wage employees of the club, they may qualify for certain benefits, but the management is scooping up most of their tips. The really popular dancers who did a couple of sets in an hour when the club was crowded could make a lot more than fifteen dollars, so for some of them, this is a major pay cut.
None of this addresses the security questions or the sexual harassment and assaults the dancers regularly encountered from clients or even the club’s staff. It’s a complicated situation, but if you want to force the clubs to turn these workers into regular employees, then you’re responsible for all of the fallout that ensues.